(Photo by BYU Photo/Jaren Wilkey)
PROVO, Utah—BYU men’s volleyball previewed the 2014 season with its Blue and White match Friday, which ended in a straight-set (25-23, 25-21, 25-22) victory for the Blue team.
The Blue team also won an additional fourth set 30-28.
Veteran Taylor Sander led the Blue Cougars to the win with 16 kills. Josue Rivera led the White team with eight. Team Blue finished with 10 blocks, while Team White totaled six.
The teams were neck and neck through the first set, meeting up in 13 ties. The Blue team broke away momentarily midway through the set, pulling out of a 7-7 tie on a 5-0 run. Sander launched the run with a kill, followed by back-to-back service aces. White tied up the score again on a Blue team error and kept it close until Sander pulled through for the Blue team with a pair of kills to finish off the set 25-23.
The Blue Cougars jumped ahead early in the second with a 6-0 lead. White fought to get back in the game, closing the gap to two points on a 4-1 run before an error ended its streak. The Blue team took the second set 25-21 on a block by sophomores Michael Hatch and Carson Heninger.
After three ties to start the third set, the Blue Cougars took a three-point lead with the help of kills from Phil Fuchs and Sander. Rivera tied up the set 7-7 on a kill, beating a Blue team block, but three straight White team errors put Blue back on top 10-7. Late in the set, White put up four straight points with the help of back-to-back blocks by senior Devin Young to cut the deficit to 20-19. The White Cougars tied it at 22-22 moments later on a Blue team error, but were unable to score again in the third set as Blue took the next three points for a 25-22 victory.
In the additional fourth set, White sprang ahead 5-1. Sander tied it at 9-9 on a kill, launching a back and forth battle as the White team struggled to stay on top. Tied 19-19, White pulled ahead 23-20 on a 4-1 scoring streak capped by a Rivera kill. Two kills and a service ace put Blue back in competition. Six tie scores later, Fuchs and Heninger threw down back-to-back kills for the Blue team to end the fourth set 30-28.
BYU will host Winnipeg in two exhibition matches Dec. 27 and 28 at 7 p.m. MST in preparation for the season opener Jan. 3 at Loyola.