The No. 6 BYU men’s volleyball team fell in four sets to No. 5 UC Irvine (25-20, 19-25, 27-29, 25-23) at the Smith Fieldhouse on Friday night.
"We thought we had a pretty good report against them and knew what we wanted to do, but struggled after the first set," BYU volleyball head coach Chris McGown said. "We need to help our guys be better in those tight situations and hopefully we can carry some of the momentum we had in the beginning tonight to tomorrow night's match."
Irvine’s (19-4, 13-3 Mountain Pacific Sports Federation) win broke the Cougars’ (13-8, 10-7 MPSF) 36-home match win streak.
Jake Langlois finished with a double-double, 17 kills and 11 digs, as well as five blocks. Phil Fuchs followed with nine kills of his own, and Matt Underwood added six kills on the night. Tyler Heap recorded 29 assists and nine digs.
Robbie Sutton added 11 assists and six digs, Jaylen Reyes contributed six digs and Joseph Grosh finished with four blocks. BYU out-blocked the Anteaters, 11-8, but finished with just a .189 hitting clip.
Langlois and Fuchs registered the first three kills of the first set to give the Cougars a 3-1 start. BYU and Irvine went into a back-and-forth battle until the Cougars reeled off a 7-2 run that included three kills by Fuchs and two back row kills by Langlois to lead 16-11. After the Anteaters cut their deficit, 21-19, Fuchs’ kill and three errors by Irvine gave BYU the first set 25-20.
Fuchs opened the second set with a kill, but BYU played from behind, 7-4. A block by Heap and Michael Hatch tied the game at 8-apiece until a 3-0 Irvine run gave it back a 13-10 lead. The Anteaters went on a 5-1 run to extend their lead 20-14 to take the set, 25-19.
The Cougars started the third set up 5-3 following kills by Heap and Grosh. Irvine came back to take a two-point lead until BYU put together a 5-1 run to retake the 16-14 lead after Underwood’s kill. Following Langlois’ service ace, the Anteaters tied the set back at 19. Despite having a chance to get set point with a 24-23 lead, the Cougars dropped the set, 29-27, after an intense back-and-forth battle.
Irvine took the fourth set, 25-23, after starting the set with a 13-5 lead. Langlois recorded consecutive kills to cut BYU’s deficit to 13-7, but the Anteaters extended their lead back up to seven at 18-11. BYU blocked Irvine two possessions in a row to come within four at 22-18. Price Jarman and Brenden Sander’s kills and Grosh’s block made it a one-point set, but the Cougars still fell by two.
BYU has a rematch against UC Irvine on Saturday at 8 p.m. MDT, in the Smith Fieldhouse. The match will be broadcast live on BYUtv and simulcast on BYU Radio. Links to live stats and a video feed can be found on the BYU men’s volleyball schedule page.