No. 10 BYU secures second-straight 3-1 victory over No. 14 UC Santa Barbara
PROVO, Utah – No. 10 BYU men’s volleyball defeated No. 14 UC Santa Barbara 3-1 at the Smith Fieldhouse for the second-consecutive night.
Ramanis led the way for the Cougars (8-2) as he registered 19 kills on a .486 hitting percentage, his highest of the season. The sophomore also recorded two service aces, two blocks and five digs on the night.
Trent Moser was one kill short of matching his career-high as he recorded 15 kills in the 3-1 win. The freshman hit .333 while also adding four digs and a block for BYU.
“At the beginning of the season, no one saw us being a contender this year," said junior outside hitter Kupono Browne. "We have been working so hard in the practice gym to achieve our goals and that’s to hang another national championship banner in the Fieldhouse.”
The Cougars tallied 54 kills while outhitting the Gauchos .300-.260. BYU also carded 36 digs, four service aces and six blocks in the win.
BYU took an early 3-0 lead after a pair of team blocks and a kill by Ramanis. UCSB went on a quick 4-1 run to tie the score at four, but another string of three-straight points—including another team block and Ramanis' kill—put the Cougars back up by three.
The advantage would stay at three throughout the set, with BYU leading 18-15 down the stretch. An ace from Anthony Cherfan extended the lead to four at 21-17, but two consecutive BYU errors cut the lead to two, 21-19.
The Cougars responded with four straight points to take the set 25-19. Two of the four points were kills from Ramanis, with Moser adding one as well.
Ramanis had six kills in the first, with a perfect 1.000 hitting percentage. The Cougars hit .522 in the frame, with the Gauchos converting on a .286 clip.
UCSB took a 2-0 lead to start the second set, but BYU countered with a 6-0 run to lead 6-2. The Gauchos would chip away at the gap but never got closer than two at 11-9. The Cougars slowly expanded their lead to five, 18-13.
Cherfan finished with four kills in back-to-back sets, with his eighth kill of the match sealing the set for BYU, 25-20.
The Gauchos broke a 6-6 tie at the start of set three with a pair of kills and a block to go up 10-7. The visitors would continue to increase their lead with consecutive hitting errors from the Cougars putting UCSB up 22-17.
BYU was limited to single-digit kills for the only time in the match while also being held to a .030 hitting percentage. The Gauchos notched their match high, .440, on 13 kills with just two errors. The UCSB defense also added four blocks in the set.
BYU controlled the fourth set, with the Cougars opening up an early 4-1 lead. The Gauchos brought it back to 5-4, but three-consecutive kills from Moser quickly restored BYU’s advantage.
The lead became six at 12-6 when Kupono Browne, Gavin Julien and Ramanis combined for four-straight kills. The lead grew to eight after two more kills from Browne.
UCSB would not go quietly, stringing together three-straight points to cut into the lead. BYU responded with four-straight points, with Ramanis registering two kills and combining for a block with Julien.
The Gauchos survived two match points, but Ramanis once again led the way for the Cougars, landing his sixth kill of the set to secure the match, 25-17.
BYU next travels to California for two matches at UCLA on Friday and Saturday.
BYU hosts No. 14 UC Santa Barbara this week
PROVO, Utah — After a road series against Ball State, the Cougars (6-2) moved up to No. 10 in this week’s AVCA coaches poll. BYU split the series 1-1 with No. 8 Ball State, defeating the Cardidnals on Thursday, February 2 in a 3-1 upset win.
Miks Ramanis led the Cougars last week with 36 kills, 21 digs, four blocks and two service aces, being nominated as MPSF Offensive Player of the Week by BYU.
In a top-15 matchup this week, BYU will face the No. 14 ranked UC Santa Barbara Gauchos (4-2) in Provo for a two-game matchup on Friday and Saturday. Most recently, the two teams met in California and UCSB won 3-1. The Gauchos (2-7) have suffered seven losses this season, with six of their losses against top-ten teams. Last week, UCSB defeated No. 5 Pepperdine in a five-set thriller (25-21, 25-21, 25-16, 25-10, 15-12).
This is BYU’s third week in a row facing a ranked opponent. BYU has not been ranked in the top-10 since January 31, 2022. The Cougars also look to extend their undefeated 4-0 home streak.
BYU’s outside hitter Kupono Browne will face fellow Honolulu, Hawaii-native Ryan Wilcox of UCSB. The two players used to be on the same club team, but Browne was two years younger than Wilcox’s cohort. “He was one of the players I looked up to while growing up,” said Browne. “Getting to play against anyone from back home is always nice.” Wilcox is a two-time Hawaii State Player of the Year.
- Friday: 7 p.m. MST
- Streaming: BYUtv app/byutv.org
- Saturday: 7 p.m. MST
- Streaming: BYUtv