No. 4 BYU tops No. 2 UCLA for MPSF Championship
PROVO, Utah — Senior Brenden Sander led No. 4 BYU men's volleyball to victory over No. 2 UCLA in four sets (17-25, 25-21, 25-18, 25-21) for the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Championship Saturday night at the Smith Fieldhouse.
"It was an exciting match to be a part of," BYU head coach Shawn Olmstead said. "Congrats to our opponent UCLA for being here. They battled. It was a hard-fought volleyball match and more than anything I am excited for this team. I am super happy for them. They have put in a lot of work for this moment."
Sander led the team with 18 kills, five blocks and two service aces. Gabi Garcia Fernandez followed with 12 kills, seven digs, four blocks and two aces. Leo Durkin tallied 37 assists while Zach Hendrickson recorded a career-high 11 digs.
Back-to-back blocks by Sander, Fernandez and Felipe de Brito Ferreira was followed by a service ace by Durkin to put the Cougars on top 3-1 in set one. The Bruins fought to even the game at 10-all, but a kill by Sander kept UCLA from taking their first lead. After the two teams exchanged points in the following possessions, the Bruins managed to score seven points in a row to take a 19-13 advantage. The Cougars were unable to put together another run and UCLA went on to take set one, 25-17.
In set two, BYU jumped to another quick start for a 3-0 lead. After falling behind, the Cougars went on a four-point run to take back the lead, 15-13, and force a timeout by UCLA. With the set tied at 18-all, Fernandez recorded back-to-back kills to give BYU a 20-18 advantage. At set point, another kill by Fernandez gave the Cougars set two, 25-21.
The Bruins took an early 4-0 lead in set three, forcing a quick BYU timeout. The Cougars rallied to even the game at 6-all. Kills by Sander, Ferreira and Fernandez put BYU on top 12-9. A service error by UCLA was followed by an ace by Fernandez to increase the Cougars' lead to 18-12. Another kill by Sander put BYU at set point and a service error gave the Cougars set three, 25-18.
After trailing 2-1 in set four, BYU rallied to take a 12-7 lead after back-to-back blocks by Sander and Ferreira. Two-straight kills by Sander kept the Cougars on top, 19-15. The Bruins brought the game within two-points, 22-21, but kills by Sander and Fernandez sent BYU to match point. An attack error by UCLA ultimately gave BYU the set and match, 25-21.
At the conclusion of the match, Sander, Durkin and Fernandez were named to the all-tournament team and Sander was named the Most Valuable Player.
The Cougars will receive the conference's automatic bid to the 2018 NCAA Tournament in Los Angeles, California. The selection show will take place on Sunday, Apr. 22, at 11 a.m. MDT and will be streamed live on NCAA.com.
No. 4 BYU to host MPSF Tournament
PROVO, Utah – No. 4 BYU men’s volleyball hosts the semifinals and championship match of the MPSF Tournament this week.
The Cougars (20-6, 10-2 MPSF) are the No. 1 seed in the tournament and had a bye last week in the quarterfinals.
BYU will compete against No. 6 seed USC (8-19, 3-9 MPSF), who upset No. 3 seed Pepperdine in Malibu last week, on Thursday, April 19, at 7 p.m. MDT.
Joining the Cougars and Trojans in Provo will be No. 2 seed UCLA (23-6, 9-3 MPSF) and No. 4 seed Concordia Irvine (16-14, 5-7 MPSF), who will play each other on Thursday at 4:30 p.m. MDT.
The winner of each match will play in the championship match on Saturday, April 21, at 7 p.m. MDT.
No. 2 seed UCLA
- BYU split the season series with UCLA, with each team winning on its home court in three sets.
- The Cougars hold a 34-32 edge in the all-time series against the Bruins.
- BYU had won eight-straight matches against UCLA before falling in the final regular-season match earlier this month.
- The Cougars are 22-10 at home against the Bruins.
- UCLA has had just one loss since falling in three to BYU at home in the beginning of March – losing to USC in five.
No. 4 seed Concordia Irvine
- BYU also split the meetings against Concordia Irvine this year. The Cougars swept the Eagles on the road before falling in five at home.
- BYU holds a 2-1 record in the short overall series history and is 1-1 when playing Concordia Irvine at home.
- The Eagles have lost just one in their last seven matches, falling at Stanford after the upset of the Cougars in Provo.
- The Bruins swept Concordia Irvine in both matches during the regular season.
No. 6 seed USC
- BYU won both meetings this season in four sets.
- The Cougars are 39-13 all-time against the Trojans.
- BYU is 23-4 when facing USC at home.
- The Trojans are 2-2 in their last four matches, defeating UCLA and Pepperdine while falling at Grand Canyon and Concordia Irvine.
There will be a live stream of Thursday’s match featuring UCLA and Concordia Irvine available by SportsLive. A paid subscription is required to view the CBSi stream. The BYU vs. USC match will be televised live on BYUtv and streamed live by SportsLive. Should BYU advance, Saturday’s match would also be televised by BYUtv and streamed by SportsLive. If the Cougars fail to advance, the match would only be streamed by SportsLive.
Live stats will be available for all matches on the BYU men's volleyball schedule page.
All-session reserved and general admission tickets are on sale by the BYU Ticket Office. Prices range from $18 to $49 depending on the seating area selected. Children age 2 and up require a ticket in the reserved seats. Children age 6 and up require a ticket in the general admission areas. Individual session passes will be available starting Thursday, April 19, at 9 a.m. MDT.