Cougars face Cardinal in NCAA semifinals

(Photo by Todd Wakefield/BYU Photo)

PROVO, Utah—BYU men’s volleyball will face Stanford in the NCAA tournament semifinals Thursday at 6 p.m. CDT in the fourth meeting between the two highly ranked teams this season.

The Cougars (21-8) are No. 1 in the American Volleyball Coaches Association poll and the No. 2 seed in the NCAA tournament behind top-seeded host Loyola Chicago. Both teams received a bye to the semifinals Thursday. No. 3 seed and third-ranked Stanford (23-8) defeated No. 6 seed Erskine in straight sets Tuesday to advance to the semifinals.

BYU and Stanford last played Saturday in the championship match of the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation tournament in Provo, Utah. The Cougars came away with the 3-0 victory for the championship crown behind tournament MVP Taylor Sander’s 15 kills. BYU also earned a four-set home victory over the Cardinal in January before a five-set road triumph in February. Stanford has achieved a 14-1 record in March and April with its lone defeat coming against the Cougars in the MPSF final.

Sander, a four-time All-American, leads the Cougars with 4.55 kills per set and 5.43 points per set. He’s aided by Michael Hatch’s team-leading 1.45 blocks per set, which is the best blocks average of any player competing in the NCAA tournament. On the back row, libero Jaylen Reyes contributes 1.82 digs per set.

Brian Cook leads the Cardinal with 3.81 kills per set after recording 17 kills on a .483 hit clip against the Cougars. James Shaw runs the Stanford offense with 10.86 assists per set. On defense, the Cardinal relies on Conrad Kaminski’s 1.08 blocks and Grant Delgado’s 2.50 digs per set.

Cougar Nation can watch BYU take on Stanford in the semifinals on NCAA.com. Links to the live video streaming and live stats will be available on the BYU men’s volleyball schedule page.

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NCAA Semifinal Notes1.82 MB