Mike Miller | Posted: 25 Jan 2023 | Updated: 17 Feb 2023

BYU swept by No. 6 UC Irvine for first loss

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BYU men's volleyball in a huddle

IRVINE, Calif. — No. 12 BYU men’s volleyball suffered its first loss of the season Wednesday night, with No. 6 UC Irvine earning a 3-0 (25-21, 25-23, 25-16) sweep.

The Cougars (4-1) had 39 kills, three more than the Anteaters. UC Irvine was able to gain the advantage with 26 blocks, which helped UCI outhit BYU .342 to .163. BYU was led by outside hitters Kupono Browne and Miks Ramanis, who each finished with 12 kills.

Set One

Two early blocks helped UC Irvine open an early 8-5 lead but BYU was able to tie the set at 10 thanks in part to an ace from Trent Moser. The Anteaters remained in front, however, holding a 15-12 advantage in the middle of the first after an ace of their own.

UCI relied on two more blocks to grow the lead to five, with the Anteaters’ defense ultimately earning eight stops in the set. The Cougars were unable to get any closer as UCI went on to win set one 25-21.

BYU committed 14 errors and hit .214 in the frame. Ramanis had a game-high six kills to that point, but the Anteaters outhit the Cougars with a .353 clip.

Set Two

UCI once again led early, 5-1, before BYU came back to force a tie at 10-all. Browne and Moser each had two kills to fuel the Cougar attack. The two teams then combined for 10 kills on the next 12 points, with Ramanis and Teon Taylor contributing two each for BYU as the score remained tied, 16-16.

The Anteaters won three-straight points before the Cougars responded with three of their own off a kill from Browne and a kill and ace by Moser. Browne and Moser would then combine for three more successful attacks to give BYU its first lead of the set at 22-21.

The score was later knotted at 23, with UCI escaping the set with a 25-23 win after a BYU service error and another Anteater block. The home side had five stops in set two and also hit .313, while the Cougars hit .216.

Set Three

BYU took one of its only leads in the match at the start of the third set, with kills from three different players helping create a 5-2 advantage. The Cougars were unable to find an answer for UC Irvine’s defense, however, with two more blocks contributing to a 14-11 lead for UCI. The Anteaters continued to outhit the Cougars as well, adding a kill and ace to a pair of BYU errors and growing the lead to seven.

UCI would earn three of its final six points on blocks, finishing the match on a 13-5 run to take set three 25-16. The Anteater defense held the Cougars to a .061 hitting percentage in the final set while converting at a .375 clip.

BYU and UC Irvine will face off again this Friday, Jan. 27, at 7:00 p.m. PST. The match will be broadcast on ESPN+ from UCI’s Bren Events Center.

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