(Photo by Todd Wakefield/BYU Photo)
PROVO, Utah -- Taylor Sander and Matt Underwood combined for a total of 24 kills to lead the No. 9 BYU men’s volleyball team to a sweep (25-23, 25-22, 25-15) over Cal State Northridge Friday.
“I was interested to see how we would come out tonight, because we’ve had a bad week of practice,” BYU volleyball coach Chris McGown said. “A lot of guys were sick, a lot of guys were hurt and it just created a down vibe in practice, so for me to see them come out and play as hard as they did, I was really encouraged by that.”
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Sander added two service aces, and Underwood finished the match with a .389 clip. Underwood's 10 kills and four blocks were both career highs. Devin Young added five kills, while Josue Rivera recorded three kills of his own. Tyler Heap finished with a career-high 37 assists.
The Cougars were tied 2-2 in the first set with both kills coming from Phil Fuchs, but trailed 9-5 early. After putting together a 3-0 run to cut the deficit to one, BYU forced CSUN to call a timeout and connected on two kills to grab its first 10-9 lead. Sander’s back-row kill gave the Cougars a 13-10 lead to force another Matador timeout. Michael Hatch recorded a service ace to put BYU up 15-12, which was followed by two kills from Young.
The Matadors responded to take a late 22-21 lead, but committed two errors, which was followed by a solo block by Young to take set one 25-23.
After a slow start in the first set, BYU led 4-1 to start the second, with the run including a kill and service ace from Sander. CSUN answered back out of the timeout to tie it 8-8 and continued a back-and-forth battle. Following a back-row kill from Rivera, Sander hit two consecutive kills to take the 20-17 lead. A kill from Rivera gave the Cougars set point, with Young ending it 25-22.
BYU ran away in the third set after a strong 8-2 start led by blocks and two kills from Underwood. Young recorded another solo block for the four-point lead during a 6-1 run. Sander got another service ace and followed it up with a back-row kill after a long rally to put BYU up 16-8. Joseph Grosh gave the Cougars the last two points to end the match 25-15.
“This is a great crowd, Friday night," McGown said. "I know it’s our home opener, but it’s so nice being home and there’s such great energy here in the Fieldhouse. Being back in a familiar environment sure helps.”
BYU is 1-2 on the season and 1-0 in conference play after Friday’s win in the conference home-opener.
The Cougars stay home to host No. 1 Long Beach State on Saturday at 7 p.m. MST.