PROVO, Utah - A night after playing its best match ever against No. 2 Brigham Young, the No. 13 UC San Diego men's volleyball team couldn't keep the momentum going and were swept in Friday's rematch at Smith Fieldhouse. Scores were 25-17, 25-16 and 25-22.
UC San Diego (6-12, 3-9 MPSF), which took BYU to five sets for the first time ever Thursday night, ran into a much hotter-hitting Cougar squad tonight. BYU (13-4, 9-3 MPSF) attacked at .460 with 38 kills and nine errors in 63 attempts and swung well over .500 in sets one and two.
The top-blocking squad in the country, BYU held an 11.5 to 7.0 advantage over UCSD.
UCSD, which hit .276 (29-13-58), spread its offense around as seven players accounted for 29 kills and nobody had more than nine. Outside Carl Eberts had the high kills total and also added a team-best 11.5 points for the Tritons. Freshman setter Mike Brunsting hit .714 with six kills and setter Phil Bannan had four blocks.
Brigham Young was paced by Taylor Sander's 13 kills, four aces and 17.0 points, all match-highs. Fellow outside hitter Alex DaPron hit .700 with eight kills. Otavio Souza and Rob Stowell led BYU at the net with seven and five blocks.
Both teams improved at the service line, each committing 15 errors after BYU had 26 and UCSD had 23 Thursday.
"We stretched them (BYU) to five sets last night and I figured that they would come in really focused and serve much better than they did last night, and that was the case," said UCSD head coach Kevin Ring. "Unfortunately, we had to play from behind too much in the first two sets."
In the opening set, the Cougars hit .529 to the Tritons' .250. The score stayed close until about halfway through when BYU started to open up a lead. At 12-9, the Cougars scored three of the next four points to take a 15-10 lead. UCSD couldn't get itself in the game and BYU cruised to the win. There was only one tie in the set at 1-1.
The Cougars were even more efficient offensively in the second set, upping their attack percentage to .556. UCSD also picked it up, finishing the frame at .286. The Tritons held an early lead at 4-3 following blocks by Bannan and Brady. However, it was short-lived as Brigham Young proceeded to explode for four consecutive points, a run that included a kill by Sander which he followed up with three straight aces.
UCSD found itself down 14-9 after a DaPron kill in the third set. The Tritons rallied for four unanswered points to get within one point at 14-13. Two came via a kill and a block by Ross, the other two from a pair of aces by Eberts. Two Sander kills and blocks by Souza and Stowell put BYU back up 17-13, but UCSD would make another run late. At 20-16, the Tritons rattled off three straight points to get back within one. The Cougars answered right back with three points of their own and that effectively closed the door on UCSD.
UC San Diego had four blocks in the final set and hit at its highest percentage of the match, .300.
The Tritons return home and will be looking to snap their four-match losing streak heading into the second half of the MPSF season. UCSD hots Pacific on Friday, Mar. 4 and Stanford on Saturday, Mar. 5. Both matches are scheduled for a 7 p.m. first serve. Tickets to home matches are available at RIMAC Arena beginning one hour prior to the start. UCSD students are admitted free with a valid ID.