No. 8 BYU upsets MPSF opponent No. 7 Pepperdine in five sets
PROVO, Utah — No. 8 BYU men's volleyball upset No. 7 Pepperdine in five sets (21-25, 25-22, 19-25, 25-20,15-11) Friday night in the Smith Fieldhouse in front of 4,156 fans during BYU's longest match of the season at two hours and 41 minutes.
"There's no feeling like playing in the Smith Fieldhouse," said sophomore outside hitter Miks Ramanis. "I get shivers every time we make a crazy play. We managed to stay so focused in the fifth set by communicating with each other. That communication is what held us together tonight. I'm so thankful for my family and all the fans that came tonight."
Sophomores Luke Benson and Ramanis led BYU (13-6) in kills with 16 and 18, respectively. Benson's career-high of 11 digs also helped lift the Cougars over the Waves. In his return from injury, senior setter Heath Hughes tallied 47 assists, 11 digs and three blocks.
Down 2-1 through three sets, the Cougars stormed back to win the five-set thriller, winning sets four and five. Tonight's win also pushed BYU to fourth place in the MPSF, with a 3-4 conference record.
The Cougars outhit the Waves .283 to .254 on the night and were nearly bested in kills 60-58. Jaylen Jasper led Pepperdine (14-9) with a career-high of 37 kills.
The Waves jumped out to a 5-1 lead after multiple BYU receiving errors in the first set before a timeout was called by head coach Shawn Olmstead. Following the timeout, the Cougars rallied and tied things up at 10-10.
Pepperdine regained the lead and led 18-13 before the Waves eventually won the first set 25-20. Pepperdine outhit the Cougars in the set .357 to .148.
The Cougars led 5-1 early in the second set, forcing Pepperdine to call a timeout. BYU continued to have success after the timeout and led 8-3 following a kill from Gavin Julien. Later in the set, four-straight points for the Waves forced the Cougars to call a timeout, as Pepperdine trailed 11-10. The Waves took their first lead of the set after the timeout, as they led 12-11.
A kill by Luke Benson gave the Cougars the advantage again, as they led 15-14. Later, a service ace from Jon Stanley extended BYU's lead to 21-19. BYU never lost the lead again and hung on for the win 25-22.
BYU outhit the Waves .241 to .214 in the set and Benson's six kills helped give the Cougars the advantage.
Pepperdine began with a 7-3 lead and would extend their lead to 11-6. The Waves continued to find success as they led 16-11 before BYU called a timeout. Following the timeout, the Waves kept pushing their lead up to 19-12, but the Cougars responded following a kill by Benson, cutting their deficit to 19-15.
Barring a late push from BYU, the Waves held their ground and won the set 25-19.
Pepperdine led 6-3 in the fourth set before the Cougars scored four straight points and took a 7-6 lead. The two teams began to trade points as both teams were tied at 12 before BYU took a 15-13 lead following a kill from Julien.
Later a kill at the net from Ramanis extended the Cougars' lead to 17-14. The momentum continued to be on BYU's side as they closed out the set, winning 25-20 following a kill from Benson. The Cougars outhit the Waves in the set .455 to 200.
BYU jumped out to a 4-2 lead in the fifth set following a kill from Kupono Browne who came off from the bench tonight. Browne went on to have six kills and one ace for the Cougars. Pepperdine evened things up at 6-6 before the Waves took an 8-7 lead.
Following a timeout, the Cougars regained the lead at 9-8. A kill by Teon Taylor would extend BYU's lead to 10-8. Later, the Cougars led 14-11 following a kill by Browne. On their first match point, BYU secured the victory off a service ace from Jon Stanley, earning a 3-2 win over Pepperdine.
Tomorrow night, the Cougars and Waves will remain in Provo. Saturday's match will begin at 7 p.m. MDT in the Smith Fieldhouse, with live coverage on the BYUtv app.
No. 8 Cougars host top-10 matchup against No. 7 Waves this weekend
PROVO, Utah — The No. 8 Cougars return to the Smith Fieldhouse after a bye week to host a top-10 conference matchup against No. 7 Pepperdine this weekend on Friday and Saturday.
Pepperdine currently averages 13.20 kills per set, the second highest average in the nation, and has the most kills this season with 1,082. The Waves are led by junior setter Bryce Dvorak who has 872 total assists this season, averaging the nation’s best of 10.77 assists per set.
BYU has a 36-35 overall record against the Waves. Just 22% of BYU’s total losses against Pepperdine have been at home, with a 23-8 home record.
After one week with no games, BYU held its spot at No. 8 in this week’s AVCA coaches poll. This is BYU’s ninth week in a row on the rankings, and its fifth week at number eight. Last season, the Cougars highest ranking at any point was eight.
BYU’s sophomore middle blocker Teon Taylor is currently the No. 2 blocker in the country, averaging 1.294 blocks per set. As a team, BYU is currently averaging 2.485 blocks per set, the sixth highest average out of all NCAA D1 men’s volleyball teams. Taylor also holds a 2023 NCAA single-match record with 13 total blocks against CUI on January 27th.
Miks Ramanis leads the Cougars in kills with 215, averaging a .322 clip. Middle blockers Teon Taylor and Gavin Julien are the only two players on the roster to have played in every single set this season, with 68 sets played each.
- Series Record: 36-35
- Last Meeting: BYU lost 3-0 (22-25, 21-25, 19-25)
- Home: 23-8
- Away: 13-27
- Neutral: 0-0
- Friday: 7 p.m. MST
- Streaming: BYUTv
- Saturday: 7 p.m. MST
- Streaming: BYUtv app/byutv.org