After getting swept two matches in a row at the Smith Fieldhouse last week to open MPSF play, things did not get easier for the eighth-ranked BYU men’s volleyball team as it welcomed reigning national champion and No. 4-ranked UCLA to Provo Friday night.

“It’s never a bad day to beat the Bruins. (I’m) unbelievably proud of the guys to stick with it. … We can’t thank the fans enough for being here and supporting the guys ... it got rockin’ in there.” — BYU coach Shawn Olmstead

The Cougars, however, dug deep to earn a five-set victory. The exciting win came on set scores of 31-29, 23-25, 18-25, 25-21, and 15-12.

“It’s never a bad day to beat the Bruins,” BYU coach Shawn Olmstead said. “(I’m) unbelievably proud of the guys to stick with it. … We can’t thank the fans enough for being here and supporting the guys ... it got rockin’ in there.”

UCLA began the evening riding a five-match winning streak over BYU, last falling to the Cougars three years ago.

BYU not only snapped that the Bruins’ streak, but also ended the Bruins’ streak of 21 straight regular-season MPSF victories.

It took a special effort for the Cougars, as they made just the right plays at the right moments to net their biggest victory of the year.

The first set was indicative of the way BYU would serve the entire night, bookended by service aces as sophomore setter Tyler Herget got things started and senior opposite hitter Kupono Browne finished things off for the Cougars well past the 25-point norm.

The two teams duked it out deep into the set, with BYU scoring four of the last five points to pull away and match the largest lead held by either team in the initial set.

Set two was another tight one, with UCLA maxing out its largest advantage at two points, while BYU only ever led by one.

The Bruins only trailed on three occasions, with the Cougars’ last lead coming at 16-15. At that point, UCLA used a 3-0 run to go back ahead and eventually grind its way to a win, tying the match heading into the break.

Midway through the third set the Bruins seized control, scoring five consecutive points to take a 15-10 advantage.

BYU got back into the set moments later cutting the UCLA lead to two, but then helplessly watched as the visitors ended the set on a 7-2 run to earn another victory.

Olmstead and his assistants pushed the right buttons in set four with calculated timeouts and substitutions, putting sophomore opposite hitter Ian Little and senior outside hitter Jon Stanley behind the service line in key moments; both times it resulted in aces.

“It’s definitely hard coming off the bench cold,” Little said, “but you find the rhythm, you swing away and play with your heart and it just worked out tonight. It was really fun.”

Olmstead praised his staff for the timely adjustments.

“I credit that win entirely to the assistant coaches,” he said. “All the subs we used tonight, in all those different situations, came down to those guys chirping in my ear, every one of them, so none of those were my idea.”

Despite the Bruins jumping out to a four-point advantage in the second-to-last set, the Cougars wouldn’t go away, coming back to take a 16-15 lead and never trailing the rest of the set.

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Perhaps the biggest moment of the match came from Browne serving in the final moments — the Hawaii native securing a pair of aces that sent the match into a fifth set.

“The guys stuck with it, and down the stretch our guys made plays one after another,” Olmstead said.

“We got some good block touches. We didn’t stuff balls, but we got the touches we needed to be able to convert them.”

BYU again fell down by four in the early going of the final set, prompting an Olmstead timeout.

During the timeout he reminded his players that this was the exact moment they had practiced throughout the week — facing a fifth-set deficit.

Olmstead’s team came alive, getting another big boost from Little and Browne from the service line.

Little aided a 4-0 run, securing his third ace of the night before Browne capped off the Cougar comeback moments later on a serve that resulted in an overpass kill from BYU sophomore outside hitter Trent Moser.

“Ian was unreal in those moments,” Olmstead said. “That role in and of itself is really, really hard. … We expect you to come in there and go serve tough and serve in. That’s not easy, and that was huge down the stretch, Ian, and then (Browne) at the end.”

It won’t be easy for BYU again Saturday night when it looks to get to .500 in league play in another match with UCLA at the Smith Fieldhouse.

That contest is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m.