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Catching fire: UCLA men’s volleyball overpowers BYU in 2nd straight sweep

Sophomore outside hitter/opposite Ido David rises for an attack. David led No. 2 UCLA men’s volleyball to a second straight win over No. 8 BYU on Saturday night. (Grace Wilson/Daily Bruin)

Men's Volleyball


No. 8 Brigham Young University0
No. 2 UCLA3

By Lex Wang

Feb. 19, 2023 2:01 p.m.

The Bruins completed a weekend sweep of the Cougars following another three-set win.

Despite the change in venue from Friday night’s win, No. 2 UCLA men’s volleyball (13-1, 2-0 MPSF) swept No. 8 BYU (8-4, 0-2) at the John Wooden Center on Saturday. The matchup marked the Bruins’ second win over the Cougars in as many days.

Sophomore outside hitter/opposite Ido David said although he prefers playing at Pauley Pavilion, hearing a full crowd cheer at the John Wooden Center is unparalleled.

“In terms of the fans, Wooden is much better,” David said. “You can’t compare this.”

After a slow start to Friday’s match against BYU, the blue and gold brought its typical intensity back to the court Saturday, winning the three sets by a combined 19 points.

In contrast, the Cougars kept the Bruins on their toes Saturday, with UCLA trailing BYU for the majority of the first two sets before the blue and gold could take control of the match.

Senior outside hitter Alex Knight said going into Saturday’s rematch, the team tried to avoid playing catch-up.

“When they put pressure on us, it’s hard to side out, so the message today was to get them off the line early and not let them get on runs,” Knight said. “Because when we go down, it’s a lot harder for us, so we did a good job.”

Throughout the match, the Bruins never let the Cougars secure more than four points in a row while also going on several runs of their own, including a four-point run in the first set after which UCLA never trailed again.

(Amelie Ionescu/Daily Bruin senior staff)
UCLA players celebrate after a point. (Amelie Ionescu/Daily Bruin senior staff)

David – who led the blue and gold with a match-high 21 kills – said the team was able to learn from its mistakes in its first game against the Cougars.

“The minute I catch the fire and I’m in the zone, it’s very hard to stop,” David said. “So my mentality is always the same – that’s to be the best that I can be.”

The trio of hitters was rounded out by junior outside hitter Ethan Champlin, who also scored nine kills during the game while hitting at a .500 clip. Knight set up Champlin for three of those kills, and the duo also combined for eight digs throughout the match.

Knight, who is 22nd in the nation in blocks per set, tied a team-high five blocks in the matchup. The senior said remembering his coach’s advice spurred on Saturday’s performance.

“My coach has taught me to keep my head up when I’m blocking and use and trust my vision,” Knight said. “That was just running through my head tonight, and that works.”

Over halfway through the third and final set, coach John Speraw substituted in freshman outside hitter Zach Rama. With his team 10 points away from victory, Speraw said he saw a chance to provide Rama with an otherwise elusive opportunity to gain experience.

“We had a good enough lead,” Speraw said. “I felt confident enough to go with it – gave it a shot. He got a couple of good swings in there.”

Speraw – whose season began with 10 or 11 players seeing the court in a single match – only used two substitutions in Saturday night’s game, with one being Rama in the third set and the other redshirt sophomore outside hitter Grant Sloane in the second.

Nevertheless, the squad on the court pulled off the second straight sweep over a top-10 opponent.

UCLA will resume conference play against UC Irvine on Friday at 7 p.m. on the road.

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Lex Wang | Editor in chief
Wang is the 2024-2025 editor in chief. She was previously the 2023-2024 Enterprise editor and the 2022-2023 Opinion editor. She is Arts and Quad staff and also contributes to Copy, News, Sports on the men's volleyball beat, Design, Photo and Video.
Wang is the 2024-2025 editor in chief. She was previously the 2023-2024 Enterprise editor and the 2022-2023 Opinion editor. She is Arts and Quad staff and also contributes to Copy, News, Sports on the men's volleyball beat, Design, Photo and Video.
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