(Photo by Jaren Wilkey/BYU Photo)
LA JOLLA, Calif. - The No. 3 BYU men's volleyball team kept its perfect all-time 32-0 record against UC San Diego alive Saturday on the road with a five-set victory (25-21, 40-42, 25-23, 21-25, 15-10).
Senior Robb Stowell led all players with 20 kills and nine blocks while also contributing eight digs and four service aces. Teammates Josue Rivera and Tyler Albertson joined Stowell in double-digit kills with 15 and 10, respectively. Russ Lavaja also had nine blocks to lead all players.
The Tritons took an early lead in the first set at 7-4 before the Cougars went on a 5-3 run to put them back in the mix. With the set tied up at 21-all, the Cougars converted on four-straight points for the 25-21 set victory. Josue Rivera scored the final two points of set one for BYU.
Set two started similar to the first but soon turned into a back-and-forth battle that would write itself in BYU's history books. The scored tied nine different times before reaching 25-all and would keep tying from there, all the way to 40-40. After that, UCSD was able to capitalize on two-straight points to take the 42-40 victory. The 42 points from the Tritons tie for the most points allowed from an opponent in a single set, in BYU volleyball history. BYU's 40 points tie for second all-time in points scored in a single set.
In set three, similar to the ones before it, the score was tied early at 4-4 and then again at 7-7. The Tritons took advantage of some BYU errors and went up 11-8 but kills from Rivera and Stowell kept the Cougars close. At the end of the set the Tritons had a 23-19 lead but BYU went on a 6-0 run to finish and win 25-23, taking a 2-1 lead in the match.
The Tritons held a 13-11 advantage late in the fourth set but a 4-2 run from BYU tied the score at 15-all. The Cougars took a 19-15 lead from there but the score tied up again at 19-all before UCSD finished it and took the fourth set at 25-21.
For just the second time since 1992, the Cougars and Tritons played a fifth set against each other. BYU took the 15-10 victory in the fifth set for the match win.
Four players for UCSD finished with double-figure kills, led by Vaun Lennon's 25. BYU outblocked the Tritons, 22.5 to 6.
The Cougars are back home next week as they start an 8-game home stand through most of February and some of March. BYU takes on Cal Baptist on Feb. 16 and 17 in the Smith Fieldhouse.