Coach Shawn Patchell's Cougars were defeated in the championship game of the Santa Barbara Invitational. (Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)
SANTA BARBARA -- After wins against No. 2 UC Irvine and No. 8 UCLA on Thursday, the No. 6 BYU men’s volleyball team was defeated by No. 9 Cal State Northridge in the championship game of the Santa Barbara Invitational Friday.
The Cougars lost to the Matadors in four sets (25-30, 31-29, 32-30, 30-19). BYU was led by senior outside hitter Andrew Stewart with 17 kills and senior setter Yamil Perez with 43 assists.
It became clear early in the match that neither team would be defeated easily with both teams exchanging points throughout the first set. CSUN began to pull away with an 18-16 lead in the first forcing Cougar head coach Shawn Patchell to call a timeout. However, despite strong hitting by BYU middle blocker Futi Tavana, the Cougars were unable to comeback.
The second set appeared to be deja vu of the first as there were 16 ties throughout the set. Still, BYU was unable to put away CSUN, losing 31-29.
With the match on the line for the Cougars, the third set began with consistent play on both sides of the net. However, with the score tied 10-10 BYU began to show why they made it to the championship match to begin with. Thanks in large part to strong hitting by Stewart, BYU was able to lead by as many as four. Still, the matadors would not go down without a fight, pulling back to within one of the Cougars with the score 23-22 and eventually tying the score at 26-26. CSUN would take the lead 28-27, but BYU was able to battle back for the 32-30 win.
Hungry for redemption, CSUN came out of the huddle ready to win in the fourth set. After the Matadors took an early 15-7 lead, BYU was unable to recover as CSUN finished the match by beating the Cougars 30-19 in the fourth set.
BYU will return home to Provo to face Pacific at home on Jan. 15 at 7:00 p.m. in the Smith Fieldhouse. The game will be broadcast live on BYU-TV.