UCLA Faces Long Beach State for NCAA Title

(Photo courtesy UCLA)
(Photo courtesy UCLA)
May 4, 2018

MPSF Volleyball 2018 Final Release

NCAA Tournament Central

NCAA Semifinal: UCLA 3, No. 2 seed BYU 1 (25-22, 24-26, 29-27, 25-19)

Recap by UCLA

The UCLA men's volleyball team advanced to the NCAA Championship match with a four-set semifinal win over No. 2 seed BYU on Thursday in Pauley Pavilion. Scores of the match were 25-22, 24-26, 29-27, 25-19. UCLA improves to 19-1 at home this season and will meet No. 1 seed Long Beach State in the NCAA Men's Volleyball Collegiate Championship match on Saturday at 4 p.m. in Pauley Pavilion.

Christian Hessenauer led the Bruin outside attack with 14 kills and added a career-best seven block assists. Daenan Gyimah (.750) hit at least .500 in a match for the 10th straight time and totaled 13 kills and six block assists. Jake Arnitz was also in double digits with 10 kills. UCLA outhit the Cougars .336 to .320, won the battle at the service line seven to zero and owned the nets to the tune by a margin of 12.0 total team blocks to 7.5.

In set one UCLA moved out to a 7-5 lead after Hessenauer and Oliver Martin teamed up on a block. BYU came back to even the score at 9-all and took the lead with the next point. The Cougars led 12-14 before three straight kills pushed the Bruins into the lead at 15-14. The score was tied at points 16, 17 and 18. Kills by Gyimah and Dylan Missry lifted UCLA into a 20-18 advantage. A Martin and Micah Ma'a block made it 23-21. A Hessenauer kill gave UCLA a 24-22 margin and the set went to Bruins after a Cougar error at 25-22.

In set two, neither team led by more than a point until BYU broke an 11-all tie with a couple of points for an 11-13 edge. UCLA tied it at 14 after a Martin kill. BYU scored the next two before UCLA rallied to even the score at 16-all. It was then back-and-forth until the score was tied at 23-all. UCLA went up 24-23 on a Gyimah kill, but BYU responded with three straight to take the set 24-26.

UCLA opened up a 4-1 lead to start set three. BYU came back to tie the score at 7-all. The Cougars broke a 9-all deadlock with three straight to make it 9-12. An ace by Gyimah leveled the score at 15's and then a second ace pushed UCLA into the lead at 16-15. BYU came back to knot the score at 18-each and went on to move in front 19-22. The Bruins scored the next three to pull even, but had to fight off three set points down the stretch. A Cougar service error tied the score at 24's. A Martin kill tied the score at 25's. A Missry kill tied the score at 26's. Grant Maleski's ace put UCLA at set point 27-26, but a service error followed to make it 27-all. Kills from Arnitz and Hessenauer ended the set at 29-27.

In the fourth set, UCLA jumped to a 7-4 lead. BYU closed to 10-9 but could not get even. An Arnitz kill and a Hessenauer/Gyimah block resulted in a 13-9 Bruin lead. After the Cougars cut the lead to 17-15, Arnitz delivered another kill and a BYU error followed to put UCLA in front 19-15. A Gyimah smash made it 22-17 before the Bruins pulled away to a 25-19 win.

It is the 11th straight win by a Bruin team in an NCAA semifinal match held in Pauley Pavilion. UCLA has captured the NCAA title in nine of the previous 10 championship matches held in Pauley (only loss 2005). The Bruins have won 19 NCAA men's volleyball titles in all.