Perez, Seniors Lead No. 4 BYU to Five-Set Win Over UC Santa Barbara
Provo, Utah - Senior Ivan Perez earned his eighth double-double of the season and second in a row in a five-set win (25-30, 30-25, 29-31, 30-24, 15-11) as the No. 4 BYU men's volleyball team hosted No. 14 UC Santa Barbara Friday at the Smith Fieldhouse.
Perez led all hitters with 27 kills and 12 digs hitting .444 on the night. Jonathan Charette, Trent Sorensen, and Russell Holmes also had 16, 15, and 14 kills, respectively, as well. As a team the Cougars got off to a slow start, but finished with 12.0 total team blocks and a .330 attack percentage.
"We knew UCSB would be legit," BYU head coach Shawn Patchell said. "They beat up on USC, and we saw the tape. You can't take anyone lightly ever in the [Mountain Pacific Sports Federation]."
UCSB controlled most of the first set and won 30-25. The Cougars hit well with a .343 attack percentage, but the Gauchos hit better at .485. BYU did its best to build momentum, including switching setters mid-set, but were slowed by seven service errors. Neither team was strong defensively at the net as no one recorded a block in the set. Gaucho outside hitter Jeff Menzel, who ranks fifth in the nation with 4.84 kills per set, had eight kills in the set to lead all hitters. He finished the night with 19 kills and a .088 attack percentage.
In the second set it was BYU that built an early lead that it would not relinquish and took the set 30-25. Perez came out swinging and recorded a set leading five kills with a .500 hitting percentage. However, it was the Cougar defense that dominated the set. After recording none in the first set, BYU tallied 4.0 total team blocks in the set and held UCSB to nine kills and nine attack errors for a .000 attack percentage.
The defense was lacking on both sides of the net again as UCSB won the third set 31-29. The Gauchos rolled out of the locker room to an 18-10 lead after the break, but the Cougars rallied to tie the score at 28-28. The 2,060 fans in attendance roared as BYU completed the comeback, but Patchell's squad could not muster enough to take the lead and fell in the narrow loss. BYU hit .189 and recorded 1.0 total team block in the set to UCSB's .256 performance and 2.0 total team blocks.
Down, but not out, the Cougars forced a fifth set with a 30-24 win in the fourth. Sophomore Reed Chilton returned to set BYU to a .441 attack percentage in the fourth set after being taken out mid-way through the first. Perez racked up seven kills on 11 swings with only one error in the set. The Cougar defense also got back on track with 5.0 total team blocks in the set.
"It's not our plan to go to five sets, but we've been good in the fifth set this year." Patchell commented. "We'll take the win anyway we can get it."
Now 5-0 on the year in the fifth set, BYU finished the come-from behind victory with a 15-11 win in the deciding set. The cougars scored the first three points of the set and never lost the lead. Perez added five kills in the set to his already impressive performance, and the team hit .556 in the set.
The Cougars and Gauchos will meet again Saturday night at the Smith Fieldhouse with the start time set for 7 p.m.
Article courtesy of BYU athletics.