(Photo by Todd Wakefield/BYU Photo)
PROVO, Utah—No. 2 BYU men’s volleyball swept No. 4 Pepperdine Saturday night behind Taylor Sander's 18 kills and six blocks, tying a season high.
"The boys are dialed in to our game plans, and we are executing really well," BYU head coach Chris McGown said. "It was a nice night. I told the guys after that match that I hope they understand they are playing good volleyball right now, but I feel like we have so much more upside to get to."
With the win, BYU (12-3, 12-1 MPSF) extends its winning streak to six games, tied for the longest of the season. Devin Young recorded five kills and five blocks, while Matt Underwood tallied seven kills. Setter Tyler Heap had 38 assists as each of the three sets came down to the final points.
The teams traded points early in the third set, with Sander and Josue Rivera doing most of the scoring for the Cougars. With the game tied at 11, the Cougars scored three straight on kills by Tim Dobbert and Sander and a block from Rivera to force a Pepperdine (9-4, 9-4 MPSF) timeout. The teams combined for four straight service errors to push the score to 19-16. Two more kills by Sander and attack errors by Pepperdine left the Cougars with a 23-19 lead. Pepperdine scored the next three points to cut the lead to one, but two straight BYU blocks finished the set for the Cougars at 25-22 to give BYU the sweep.
The Cougars went on a 6-2 run to take a 9-5 lead early in the first set, led by Underwood’s three kills during that stretch. The lead extended to 17-10 after two blocks by Sander and a solo block by Michael Hatch. With BYU leading 19-12, the Waves scored eight of the next 10 points to cut the lead to one at 21-20, but Sander’s two kills helped hold off the rally, and the Cougars won the set, 25-22.
The Waves jumped out to an early 8-5 lead in the second set. Sander scored the next five BYU points to tie the game at 10. The teams battled to 18-18, with BYU getting three more kills from Sander and one each from Underwood and Young. Pepperdine and BYU traded points to 22-22, but a Waves’ service error and an ace by Sander gave the Cougars their first set point. After a kill by Pepperdine’s Nikola Antonijevic, Sander finished the set with a kill to give BYU the set at 25-23.
BYU returns to action next weekend as they travel to California to take on Long Beach State on Friday and Cal State Northridge on Saturday.