A near historic blocking performance resulted in a road upset win for No. 12 BYU.
The Cougars had 22 blocks and came within one block of setting a single-match school record during the 25-point rallying scoring era as the team defeated No. 6/5 UC Irvine 26-24, 21-25, 25-22, 19-25, 15-9 on Friday in Irvine, California.
BYU had five players with at least five blocks en route to earning its first win against a top-10 ranked team this season and splitting this two-match non-conference series versus UC Irvine.
Middle attacker Teon Taylor led all players with 13 blocks. This was the most blocks in a single-match for any NCAA player this season and the fourth-most blocks for a BYU player during the rally scoring era.
Outside attacker Trent Moser contributed nine blocks against UC Irvine (7-1, 0-0 Big West), including a block to cap off a 7-2 run at the start of the fifth game. Opposite Anthony Cherfan, outside attacker Miks Ramanis and middle attacker Julien Gavin each had five blocks.
Both Ramanis and Moser also had double-digit kills to help BYU (5-1, 0-0 MPSF) bounce back from a series-opening sweep to UC Irvine on Wednesday.
Ramanis led the Cougars with a season-high 20 kills on a .325 attack percentage and had the match-winning kill. Moser added 16 kills with six kills coming in the team’s third-game win.
BYU, despite being held to a zero attack percentage in two games, still out-hit UC Irvine .254 to .204.
Opposite Francesco Sani in the loss finished with match-high 26 kills and was one of two Anteaters with double-digit kills. Outside attacker Hilir Henno had 14 kills but was limited to a .162 attack percentage.
Henno also led all players with five aces. The Anteaters ended the match with 10 aces – seven more aces than the Cougars.
BYU in the decisive fifth game committed one attack error and finished with a match-best .692 attack percentage to secure the win.
Sani had a game-high seven kills in the fourth game, including three consecutive kills late in the game to extend the Anteaters lead to six points. The Anteaters were able to force a decisive fifth game despite starting the game in a 4-0 deficit.
BYU jumped out to an 8-2 lead in the third game, but UC Irvine rallied back and tied the game at 19-19 with an ace from Henno. Ramanis, though, responded with two kills as part of a late-game 4-0 run to help BYU win the game.
The Anteaters limited the Cougars to zero attack percentage in their second-game win to even the non-conference match. UC Irvine opened the game on a 5-1 run and led by as many as six points
BYU trailed the opening game 24-21 before fighting off three game-points to force overtime. The Cougars then had an ace from Ramanis and a game-winning kill from Moser to cap off a 5-0 run and win the game.
This loss ends UC Irvine’s seven-match winning streak – its best start to a season since going 9-0 in 2007 when it won the NCAA championship.