Adam Haws | Posted: 25 Feb 2023 | Updated: 24 Mar 2023

No. 8 Cougars prevail in five set thriller against CUI

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Irvine, CALIF. — In a game that saw five sets and lasted two hours and 40 minutes, the No. 8 BYU men's volleyball team (10-4) defeated MPSF opponent Concordia University Irvine 3-2 (24-26, 26-24, 19-25, 31-29, 15-12) at CU Arena on Saturday night, extending BYU's conference record to 2-2. 

It was a team effort, as Miks Ramanis (16), Luke Benson (14) and Trent Moser (11) recorded double digit kills to lead the way for the Cougars. Gavin Julien on 12 attempts also recorded 8 kills, swinging .583 on the night. Sophomore Noa Haine had a career night Saturday evening, registering another start at the setter position and tallying a season-high 53 assists along with a team-high 14 digs.

Set One

After getting out to an early 1-0 lead off a Ramanis kill, the Golden Eagles (5-9) took a 10-8 advantage after Uriel Batista's kill. He would go on to lead all players with 32 kills on the night. BYU ultimately fought back in the set to regain control of the lead 22-20 after the ace by Jacob Reilly followed by a kill by Anthony Cherfan, but it was the Golden Eagles who would take the first set with a final score of 26-24, ending on an attack error by Moser. 

BYU ended the first set spotting Concordia 9 points off of 9 service errors while registering only 1 ace, along with 6 attack errors. The Cougars managed to hold the Golden Eagles to just a .087 hitting percentage, while swinging at .154 as a team. Ramanis led the Cougars offensively in the first set, hitting .500.  

Set Two

The Cougars struggled to gain momentum at the beginning of the second set, as the Golden Eagles jumped out to a 1-0 lead after the Batista kill which would ultimately be stretched to 16-11, Concordia's largest lead of the match to this point. After two attack errors by the Golden Eagles, Kupono Browne registered a kill to make the score 15-16, forcing Concordia into a timeout. 

BYU would gain their first lead of the set after the Benson kill, 18-17. After trading points back and forth, the score was knotted at 20-20 following the Benson service error. Kupono's big kill made the score 22-21, a lead the Cougars wouldn't relinquish for the rest of the set, as Ramanis's kill tied the match at one set a piece, with the Cougars winning 26-24. 

Set Three

After the big second set win for the Cougars, it was the Golden Eagles who controlled the majority of the third, winning by a final score of 25-19. BYU got down early after a couple of service errors by Ramanis and Teon Taylor, as Concordia led 7-3.

The kill by BYU's Johnny Anselmo, followed by a service error by Concordia brought the lead to just 2 for the Golden Eagles, 16-18. But the late set proved to not be enough, as BYU couldn't overcome Concordia's 14 kills on 24 attempts for a .542 hitting percentage. The Cougars hit just .152 in the set, registering 10 kills on 33 attempts, along with five errors. 

Set Four

In a must win fourth set, BYU got down early yet again, as the Golden Eagles gained a 6-2 advantage behind a kill and an ace by Batista. The Cougars immediately showed fight after trailing early, followed by a kill by Benson sparked a 4-0 run to tie the set at 7-7. Concordia followed the Cougar run with one of their own, reeling off three straight points to take the 10-7 lead. 

Concordia held firm to their lead over the next nine points as the Cougars tried to keep pace, with the score 14-17 after the Julian kill. After a bad set by Concordia's Makai Lipson, BYU followed it up with a kill by Ramanis to tie the score at 20-20. Trading points back and forth, the Golden Eagles had the Cougars on the ropes, leading 24-23 and forcing BYU into a timeout. 

Following the break in action, Benson and Ramanis registered back-to-back kills to now hold the Golden Eagles at set point. Concordia wouldn't back down though, as the Cougars and Golden Eagles traded points back and forth until Benson's kill followed by Batista's attack error to give the Cougars the 31-29 win.

BYU recorded 19 kills on 37 attempts for a .405 hitting percentage, their best of the night to this point in the match. 

Set Five

The fifth was a battle until the very end, but it was BYU who came out on top 15-12. After the service error by Jon Stanley, the Golden Eagles took a 10-9 advantage. Then Ramanis tied the set with another crucial kill.

With the Cougars down 11-10, Moser recorded a kill followed by an ace from Ramanis who helped give the Cougars a 12-11 advantage, as they wouldn't look back from there. Moser recorded back-to-back kills, followed a hitting error by CUI's Batista to give the Cougars the match. 

The final leg of the Cougars month-long stretch on the road will feature a match-up against Grand Canyon University in Phoenix, Arizona next weekend, Mar. 3-4. A livestream of the events will be available on ESPN+, with live stats available on StatBroadcast. 

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