No. 8/9 BYU serving sparks comeback in fifth game to upset No. 4/3 UCLA

Photo courtesy of BYU athletics

Never count out No. 8/9 BYU – especially when playing one of its biggest rivals.

BYU rallied from a four-point deficit in the decisive fifth game as it upset No. 4/3 UCLA 31-29, 23-25, 25-18, 25-21, 15-12 on Friday in Provo, Utah.

The Cougars trailed 8-4 in the final game before tying the score with a 4-0 run that featured an ace from serving specialist Ian Little. In addition, BYU closed out the match on a 5-1 run that began with a Kupono Browne kill to tie the game at 11-11 and ended with an overpass kill off of Browne’s serve.

BYU finished with a season-high 11 aces playing in front of a home crowd of 4,514 people for the opener of this two-match conference series.

Brown led all players with a season-high four aces, including having back-to-back aces to close out the fourth game. The opposite also had the game-winning ace to end the 12-point overtime in the first game.


Despite the loss, UCLA had more than a .450 attack percentage in all five games and for the match out-hit BYU .491 to. 390. This is the highest attack percentage for any team in the nation to have in a loss this season.

Outside attacker Luke Benson led BYU with 16 kills on a .367 attack percentage. Benson also had a game-high five kills in the final game with three of those kills during BYU’s late-game run to end the match.

Opposite Miks Ramanis added 14 kills on a team-best .522 attack percentage, while Browne contributed 12 kills.

UCLA had four players finish with double-digit kills and all five of the Bruins starting pin-hitters and middle attackers hit more than .300.

Outside attacker Zach Rama had a match-high 21 kills and hit .562. In addition, opposite Ido David added 11 had 11 kills and zero errors on a .579 attack percentage.

Middle attacker Merrick McHenry ended with season-high 14 kills on a .619 attack percentage. This performance extended McHenry’s streak to 12 consecutive matches of hitting more than .400.

UCLA in the loss was held to a season-low three aces and committed 28 service errors.

The Bruins entered this match leading the MPSF and fifth in the nation with a 1.98 aces per game average.