Repeat after me: Home court advantage is important.
Having the home court advantage can help a team win championships. That’s what happened tonight in Provo, Utah where BYU, the top seed in the MPSF and host of the MPSF Men’s Volleyball Championship, defeated UCLA in four sets, 25-17, 21-25, 18-25, 21-25.
The Bruins started off by winning the first set, but they fell behind early. BYU scored on the first three volleys and they led 6-3 after nine points. UCLA hung in, though, and tied the set up 10-10. After BYU took a 13-12 lead, the Bruins went on a 7-0 run to go up 19-13. The Cougars kept fighting and managed to cut UCLA’s lead to four at 21-17. The Bruins finished strong by winning the last four points of the set.
Unfortunately, that was the only set that the Bruins finished strong.
In the second set, UCLA took a two-point on four separate occasions — at 6-4, 8-6, 12-10 and 13-11 — but a 4-0 gave the Cougars a 15-13 lead. The Bruins managed to tie it back up at 18-18, but a 6-2 BYU run gave the Cougars their first set point of the night at 24-20. Micah Ma’a killed the next volley, but the Bruins weren’t able to close the gap any more and dropped the second set, 25-21.
Despite the fact the UCLA took a quick 4-0 lead in the third set, the Bruins could not capitalize. The set was tied as late as 9-9, but a 5-0 run by BYU put the Cougars ahead for good in this set as UCLA could not score on consecutive points during the remainder of the set and the Cougars took a 2-1 lead.
When UCLA fell behind 3-2 after five points, it didn’t seem like the match was over, but it was. Slowly, the Cougars increased their lead to five points at 12-7 and UCLA still trailed by five as late as 22-17. A 3-0 mini-run by the Bruins cut the BYU lead to just two, but UCLA ran couldn’t overcome the Cougars’ home court advantage and UCLA had lost the MPSF Championship, 3-1.
There is some good news.
I started this recap off by writing that home court advantage is important. Bruin fans certainly can see that from the results of tonight’s match.
With the way other conferences have played out, UCLA should earn an at-large NCAA Tournament berth. As a result, the Bruins will head to the NCAA Tournament in the friendly confines of Pauley Pavilion. If Bruin fans pack Pauley for the tournament, home court advantage may just lift UCLA to NC #116.