(Photo by BYU Photo)
LA JOLLA, Calif. – The No. 2 BYU men’s volleyball team made quick work of UC San Diego on the road, sweeping the Tritons (25-20, 27-25, 25-15) Saturday.
“We played really well throughout the entire match,” BYU head coach Chris McGown said. “At times San Diego made it tough on us to kill the ball. They made some nice runs and put some pressure on us. The guys kept rolling through, sticking to the principles that we talked about.”
Junior Taylor Sander led BYU (13-3, 12-2 Mountain Pacific Sports Federation) with 14 kills and a .407 attack. Freshman Ben Patch followed with 11 kills and a .455 clip, while contributing five digs and three blocks. Junior Devin Young added seven kills while hitting .636.
The Cougars outhit the Tritons (6-13, 3-11) .427 - .250.
BYU jumped out strong with a 4-0 lead in the first set behind kills from Russ Lavaja and Josue Rivera, but the Tritons responded and closed the gap, tying it at 9. The Cougars forged ahead and created a 15-11 advantage following kills from Sander and Lavaja before a pair of service aces from Patch widened BYU’s lead to 19-13. UCSD came within four, but it wasn’t enough as the Cougars closed out the set 25-20 with a .500 attack.
After a 2-2 tie, BYU posted six unanswered points in the start of the second set. Sander gave the Cougars a 15-8 margin after back-to-back kills. Trailing 20-16, the Tritons pieced together four straight kills to tie the contest until an error put BYU back on top. A kill by Rivera positioned the Cougars at 23-21, but UCSD responded with two points of its own. The Tritons stuck with BYU and answered each point until Sander finished off the set, 27-25, on the Cougars’ third set point.
“We won a close second set but we just wanted to stay steady,” McGown said. “We got some nice contribution from guys off the bench tonight.”
The teams exchanged points to kick off the third with UCSD taking an 8-7 lead. The Triton lead didn’t last long as BYU flipped the score in its favor, 14-10, aided by two Sander aces. The Cougars extended the 8-1 run to gain a seven-point advantage. A kill from Young and an ace from Rivera placed BYU up 20-12. The Cougars rallied for the last three points of the sets to secure the set, 25-15, and match victory.
BYU is back at home next weekend hosting Cal Baptist Friday and Saturday at the Smith Fieldhouse.