Undefeated Run Snapped by BYU

David Conley/New University

BYU 3, UCI 2

No. 1-ranked UC Irvine had a chance to get their revenge against No. 2 Brigham Young University, but fell just short in a five-game loss on Jan. 14 at the Bren Events Center.

The Anteaters are now 4-2 overall and 0-2 in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation. UCI fought hard from a two-set deficit to force a fifth set but BYU came up strong and defeated them on the final set.

“Our energy was really good from the third game on to the fifth. Our swinging and floor defense was pretty well tonight. But, I think we have to work more on our passing and our blocking,” said freshman Zachary La Cavera.

The Anteaters played better than the day before, but they still need to make many improvements.

La Cavera led in scoring with a team-high 10 kills and four service aces, and sophomore Scott Kevorken had nine kills and two service aces. Sophomore Daniel Stork led the team with 50 assists.

In the first set, UCI had the early lead until BYU came back to tie it at 10-10. The Cougars went on a 4-0 run to take the lead. UCI continued to struggle with their serves in the first set as they missed a couple to give BYU easy points. BYU’s Taylor Sander knocked down a kill to win first set 25-22.

The Cougars did not lose momentum in the second set as they scored four straight early to make the score 7-3 and forced a UCI timeout. After the timeout, both teams seemed to struggle serving the ball and could not get the ball over the net. However, BYU made an amazing block that turned the momentum to their favor. From that point on, BYU continued to score and won the second set 25-19 by a UCI missed serve.

Coach John Speraw put new UCI players to play on the floor on the third set, and they did an amazing job as they hit a successful .524. UCI blocked a shot and went on a 5-0 run to lead 9-4. BYU called a timeout, which did not help as UCI kept on scoring with their great kills, blocks and back-to-back aces by La Cavera. UCI held BYU to a .294 hitting percentage and won the third set 25-15 by a BYU service error.

The Anteaters continued to play well during the fourth set as they took an early 5-2 lead. BYU tied the game at six apiece after a timeout. The Cougars were given five attempts to take the lead, but could not manage to do so as they committed untimely errors. UCI took advantage and took a five-point lead at 17-12. The Cougars scored three straight to shrink the deficit to two at 21-19 but UCI did not give up and won the fourth set 25-20 with a kill by Kevorken and forced a fifth and final set.

The Cougars caught fire, hitting a .529 percentage in the fifth set. UCI made many unforced errors and missed blocks to give BYU free points. UCI could not manage to take the lead back away from BYU as they hit three straight kills to lead 13-8. Sander had a kill and an ace right after, ending the game with a BYU victory.

“Now that BYU has won these two matches, they are in a pretty nice place to win league already. They win a lot of matches at home and it will be tough for other good teams to win there so I think we have to become better skilled in different areas,” said Speraw. “I have to change the way we train and figure out what we need to do to win. We have to get better in a lot of things and in every aspect of the game because BYU beat us in every aspect of this game.”

BYU 3, UCI 0

The number one ranked UC Irvine men’s volleyball team had their first loss of the season after getting swept by the second-ranked Brigham Young University Cougars on Jan. 13 at the Bren Events Center. The Anteaters, who are 4-1 overall and 0-1 in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation, did not play a great game.

“From tonight’s loss, we need to work more on serving, blocking, digging, offensive set distribution, offensive attacking and passing,” said Head Coach John Speraw. The Anteaters made many unforced errors, missed serves and missed blocks, which gave great advantage to BYU.

Senior Carson Clark and sophomore Jeremy Dejno both tied the team high with 11 kills. In the first set, Clark fired back-to-back aces, making him UC Irvine’s all-time leader in service winners with 129, passing UCI alumnus Jayson Jablonsky. Clark also had the team-high digs with eight, and sophomore Daniel Stork led the team with 36 assists.

In the first set, UCI had the early lead but lost it when BYU scored three straight to take a 10-9 lead. Senior Austin D’Amore had a service ace and kept the game close with BYU leading 19-18, causing BYU to call a timeout. After the timeout, the Cougars came out strong, getting two straight points  due to an unforced error by UCI and a kill, which forced the Anteaters to call a timeout.

BYU did not lose momentum after the timeout and scored off two straight kills, which gave BYU set point 24-19. Robb Stowell of BYU finished the set with a kill and gave the Cougars the first set 25-20.

The Anteaters could not stop BYU’s kills as the Cougars took the early lead at 5-2 in the second set and caused UCI to call a timeout. UCI later managed to tie the game with BYU three consecutive times until Senior Kevin Carroll gave the ’Eaters their first lead of the set with a kill, making it 11-10. Their momentum and first lead quickly vanished after an unforced error by UCI and two consecutive aces by BYU’s Taylor Sander. BYU kept their momentum going with their kills, and the unforced errors by UCI gave BYU the lead 18-15. UCI would keep missing their serves, giving BYU free points. A blocking error by the Anteaters gave the Cougars the second set 25-21.

The third set was truly a battle as both teams were trading leads. BYU started to find momentum with a kill and a missed block by UCI, which gave BYU the lead 17-15. After a UCI timeout, BYU gained a lot of momentum starting with a block which causes another UCI timeout right after. UCI finally started to score after Dejno had a kill and D’Amore delivered an ace to cut the lead to two at 19-17. UCI continued to play hard and eventually tied the game at 24-24.

The ’Eaters had a chance to win the set, but they missed that opportunity with a service error. BYU took advantaget and had an ace and a kill to make the score 27-26. After a long rally, BYU eventually won the last set by an unforced error by UCI and the Cougars swept the Anteaters 3-0.

“This was definitely a tough loss. Just when we were capable of things we did not do tonight, it is a lot harder to lose when we did not execute on things we knew they were going to do. They played really well but we did not do what we were supposed to do so it makes it that much worse,” Clark said. “But the fact we get the chance to come back and get them tomorrow is a good thing.”