Taylor Sander's 11 kills gave him a team-leading 101 kills this season. (Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)
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PROVO -- The No. 3 BYU men’s volleyball improved to 6-2 overall after sweeping UC Irvine (25-22, 25-15, 25-17) Friday, their second-consecutive win.
Junior Rob Stowell and freshman Taylor Sander recorded 11 kills each and added five and four digs respectively, helping the Cougars to a season-high .571 hitting percentage.
“Our guys played well and it’s nice to be back in the Fieldhouse,” said BYU head coach Rob Neilson. “They’re a very good team and we did a really nice job from the service line and receiving serves, and those are two keys to playing a high level of volleyball.”
Stowell led the offensive attack for the Cougars in the first set, converting four of seven attacks. BYU recorded four team blocks and a .423 hitting percentage en route to 25-22 victory and the early set advantage.
Sander, who led the Cougars in kills for set one, added two kills and three digs in the first frame.
The Cougars took a 14-7 lead in the second set after junior Alex Dapron recorded his second kill of the set and sixth of the match. BYU would extend its lead to 20-13 and take the 25-15 set behind two kills and four digs from Stowell.
After UC Irvine took an early 5-3 lead in set three, BYU countered with a 5-1 run to claim an 8-6 advantage. A big service ace from Stowell made the score 16-9 set the Cougars up for a comfortable 25-17 victory in game three. Stowell and Sander each recorded four kills in the final set.
Junior middle blocker Futi Tavana added eight kills and six blocks with an .800 hitting percentage in the Cougars’ first home win of the season.
BYU and UC Irvine square off again Saturday at 7 p.m. in the Smith Fieldhouse.