No. YU Bounces Back, Defeats No. 10 UCLA


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PROVO, Utah - After dropping the first set the No. 5 Cougars stormed back to win the next three, defeating No. 10 UCLA 3-1 in the Smith Fieldhouse on Saturday.

"It's always nice to beat UCLA--they're a tough team," said BYU head coach Shawn Patchell. "Tonight we had to grind it out. It was ugly, but we did what we needed to down the stretch. We took better care of our side of the net than we did last night and served well. It was a good team effort."

Overall, junior setter Yamil Perez had a match-high 57 assists while sophomore outside hitter Kevin Sagers led the Cougars with 16 kills. Two other Cougars, junior opposite Mat Taylor and junior outside hitter Andrew Stewart, had double-digit kills as well. The Bruins out-hit the Cougars .275 to .252, but were not able to convert at key points in the match.

UCLA won a close first set 31-29. Perez's two aces and 13 assists help keep the Cougars close the entire time, but the team was unable to close the gap. UCLA's Ryan Ratelle had five kills to lead the Bruins.

"It was frustrating to lose that first set," said Patchell. "We gave points away. Give credit to UCLA for serving well and putting up the blocks."

The Cougars scored the first point and trailed only once in the second set, defeating UCLA 34-32. The end of the set featured a back-and-forth battle between the two teams. Futi Tavana's strong kill to tie the game at 28 energized the Cougars, and the momentum carried the team to the win. Tavana led the Cougars with four kills, while Perez had 12 assists.

"Yamil Perez was impressive tonight," said Patchell. "He found guys in rhythm, and even if there wasn't anyone to pass to he kept his composure and kept working hard. He plays a major part in keeping our offense well-distributed."

BYU's winning ways continued in the third game and they defeated the Bruins 30-28. Taylor had six kills in the set to pace the Cougars.

Taylor again led the Cougars in the pivotal fourth game, helping put away UCLA with eight kills, including the final point. After the Bruins tied the game at 20, BYU went on a 10-5 scoring run to close out the match and the game.

In the winning effort, BYU's record improves to 14-9 (10-5, MPSF), while UCLA falls to 10-13 (6-10, MPSF).

BYU welcomes No.1 UC Irvine to the Smith Fieldhouse for a two-match battle between top-10 teams on Thurs., Apr. 2 and Fri., Apr. 3. Both games will begin at 7:00 p.m. and will be televised live on BYU-TV.

Article courtesy of BYU athletics.

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