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MALIBU, Calif. (April 26, 2007)—No. 2 BYU's MPSF tournament run came to an end at the hands of an experienced No. 3 UC Irvine 30-19, 28-30, 27-30, 30-27, 15-10.
The Anteaters (26-5) held the Cougars (23-6) to just .189 hitting, including a respective .171 and -.167. in the fourth and fifth games.
UC Irvine took advantage of a slow BYU offensive start, turning a 3-1 deficit into a 9-4 advantage courtesy of an 8-1 run. The Cougars' first kill cut the Anteaters' lead to 10-6 as most of BYU's early points came on UCI service errors. The Anteaters further extended their lead to 20-11 behind back-to-back blocks. UCI picked up two additional service points before the teams traded side outs to finish the set with an Anteater 30-19 win.
The Cougars got off to a hot start in the second set jumping out to an early 7-3 lead and forcing a UCI time out. The Anteaters came out of the time out on a small run, cutting BYU's lead to 7-6 before the Cougars recorded a side out. BYU held onto the two-point advantage throughout the middle of the set. A David Smith net-aided ace tied the match at 15. The Cougars came right back with two in a row to re-gain a two-point advantage. Matt Webber hit an ace to turn the lead to the Anteaters at 21-20. BYU had an answer, scoring two in a row capped by a Cala straight-down slam of an overpass to give the Cougars a 23-22 lead. Cala came up with a huge solo block and service lead to give to give BYU a 29-26 lead. The Anteaters came back with two in a row to make the game interesting but Webber's serve on the Cougars' third game point sailed long as BYU took the second set.
With the Cougars trailing 6-5 in the third set, they scored three in a row to take an 8-6 and force UCI to take an early time out. The Anteaters came out of the break with three straight to re-take the side out advantage. The two teams traded throughout the middle of the set before BYU scored three consecutive points, the final two coming off back-to-back blocks by Yamil Perez and Russell Holmes. The Cougars then caught fire, putting up an impenetrable block and winning the hustle points. BYU jumped to a 22-17 lead when Webber couldn't penetrate a triple block. UCI put together a 6-3 run of its own to cut the lead to 25-23 and force the Cougars to take a time out. Out of the break, BYU scored two straight, followed by two straight from the Anteaters. BYU finished the set with a Rodnei Santos/Robby Stowell combo block.
The Anteaters got out of the gate quick in the fourth set, jumping to a 9-6 lead early. A Webber solo block gave UCI a 12-7 lead. The Anteaters extended their lead to 20-13 after a series of BYU hitting errors. The Cougars came back with three straight points, the last an ace off the hand of Ivan Perez to cut the lead to four. BYU kept the pressure on, adding a three-point burst to cut UCI's lead to 22-20, forcing the Anteaters to take their final time out. The Cougars were done as they added two more to tie the score on a Santos/Stowell rejection. UCI surged ahead to grab a 26-24 lead when Cole Reinholm's hit slid inside the BYU block. The Anteaters added another two service points to go ahead 29-25. UCI put the set away on the third game point.
Behind Reinholm's serve, UCI jumped out to a quick 4-1 lead in the decisive game, as the Cougars had trouble passing in the early stages of the set. Out of a BYU time out, the Anteaters added to the lead on a hitting error. BYU got one back before UCI scored three straight to jump to an 8-3 lead. After Irvine extended its lead to six, the Cougars put together a small run to cut the Anteaters' lead to 11-7. BYU added another service point before UCI took a long rally for a side out. The Cougars added another service point before UCI took the match on a Webber block.