No. 12 Cougars down No. 6 UC Irvine in 3-2 upset
IRVINE, Calif. — No. 12 BYU men’s volleyball handed No. 6 UC Irvine its first loss of the season, 3-2 (26-24, 21-25, 25-22, 19-25, 15-9) in a five-set thriller, behind season-high nights for Miks Ramanis, Trent Moser and Heath Hughes.
BYU (5-1) hit .254 with 55 kills in the five-set win while holding UC Irvine (7-1) to a .204 clip. The Cougars recorded 22 blocks to the Anteaters' 10 in the match, led by Teon Taylor who carded 15 blocks in the win, a new career high.
Ramanis led the way with a season-high 20 kills while hitting .324. The California native also contributed five blocks, four digs and two service aces in the win.
The freshman Moser had a career night as he notched career highs in kills, attempts and blocks as the Cougars upset the Anteaters. The product of Gilbert, Arizona hit .275 with 16 kills on 40 attempts, while carding nine blocks, three digs and an assist.
Heath Hughes composed the flow of BYU's offense with 47 assists, a season-high for the senior setter. 54 total assists would also be a team season-high for the Cougars.
After being swept on Wednesday night, the Cougars opened set one with a commanding 9-4 run. Moser and Ramanis each carded two kills during the run with Taylor and Kupono Browne contributing one kill apiece.
After a UC Irvine timeout, the Anteaters scored five of the next seven points to draw within two, at 11-9, leading to a BYU timeout. BYU took a 13-10 lead with back-to-back points from a Ramanis kill and block from Browne before the Anteaters rattled off six-straight points to flip the lead at 16-13, Irvine.
The Cougars drew within one, at 16-15, however, UC Irvine won four of the next five to take a 20-16 lead late in set one. The Anteaters took a 24-21 lead to earn three set points which the Cougars fought off to square the set at 24.
Ramanis’ serve clipped the wire and tumbled down for a BYU score to give the Cougars their first set point, which they converted with a Moser kill to take set one, 26-24.
The Anteaters responded by winning six of the first eight points in set two. With the Cougars down 6-2, three UC Irvine errors and a block from Gavin Julien and Moser brought BYU within one, 7-6.
UC Irvine went on a 7-2 run to go up 14-8 before the Cougars countered with a 5-1 run of their own to climb within a pair, at 15-13. Despite BYU recording four blocks in set two, the Anteaters stretched the lead to 23-18 before converting their second set point to knot the match at one set apiece.
The Cougars opened set three with a 6-1 run courtesy of three kills, two blocks and an Irvine error before the Anteaters called their first timeout. Out of the timeout, BYU extended its lead to 12-7 before UC Irvine scored three straight to climb within two, 12-10.
After a Shawn Olmstead timeout, the Cougars recorded two-straight kills to regain a four-point advantage before having the lead trimmed to one, 17-16. After UC Irvine knotted the set at 19, BYU took the next three points to go up 22-19, leading to an Anteater timeout.
Ramanis registered his 14th kill of the night to go up 23-19 before Irvine again drew within two, 23-21. The Cougars set Taylor in the middle to earn a set point before the Anteaters' serve missed long, giving BYU a 2-1 lead heading to the fourth set.
The Cougars opened the fourth on a 6-2 run with a kill from Ramanis, and blocks from Taylor, Ramanis and Anthony Cherfan. After extending the lead to 10-6, the Anteaters scored five of the next six to tie the set at 11.
After a BYU timeout, a three-point run gave UC Irvine a 15-14 lead. The Anteaters stretched the lead to four, 22-18 led by seven third set kills from Francesco Sani. Irvine closed out the set 25-19 sending the match to a decisive fifth set.
The Cougars jumped out to a 6-2 lead as Ramanis notched back-to-back kills, also getting a kill from Taylor and a block from Julien and Cherfan, leading to a UCI timeout. Out of the break, the Cougars extended the lead to five, 11-6 with kills from Cherfan and Moser.
Two kills from Ramanis and kills from Taylor and Moser gave BYU a 14-9 lead and five set points. However, the Cougars only needed one as Ramanis registered his 20th kill of the night to seal a 3-2 win over the No. 6 Anteaters.
BYU will continue its four-game road trip as they visit the Ball State Cardinals on Thursday, Feb. 2.
Cougars head to No. 6 UC Irvine for two matches this week
PROVO, Utah — No. 12 BYU men's volleyball (4-0) is headed to California to face No. 6 UC Irvine (6-0) on Wednesday and Friday.
After back-to-back wins against Fairleigh Dickinson, the Cougars moved up one spot from No. 13 in this week’s AVCA coaches poll. BYU pulled off two sweeps over FDU, improving to 4-0 on the season. In 2022, the Cougars pulled off a sweep just two times, with one 3-0 victory over UC Irvine and another versus CUI. In 2023, BYU has swept opponents in three out of its four matches.
Freshman outside hitter Trent Moser debuted in his first match as a starter for No. 13 BYU last weekend, totaling 20 kills through two games. Moser also rounded out his performance by adding two service aces, 9 digs and four total blocks, with a .357 clip. The freshman from Gilbert, Arizona led BYU’s offense in kills against Fairleigh Dickinson as the youngest starter on the court. Moser was also nominated by BYU as MPSF Offensive Player of the Week.
In the latest matchup between BYU and UC Irvine, the Cougars won in Provo 3-0 (25-22, 25-18, 25-21). This year, BYU hosted UC Irvine in the Smith Fieldhouse during the opening week of the 2023 season, but the two teams never faced each other. In Provo, UC Irvine defeated both McKendree (3-0) and No. 14 Lewis (3-1). In the Anteaters' first game against McKendree, the first set went to 36-34.
- Series Record: BYU lead 50-20
- Last Meeting: BYU won, 3-0 (25-22, 25-18, 25-21)
- Away: 23-9
- Neutral: 0-4
- Wednesday: 7 p.m. PST
- Friday: 7 p.m. PST
- Streaming: ESPN+
- Live stats: ucirvinesports.com