(Photo by BYU Photo)
STOCKTON, Calif. – The No. 1 BYU men’s volleyball team swept Pacific on the road (25-21, 25-23, 25-19) Friday.
The Cougars, who have secured the regular season MPSF title and No. 1 seed in the MPSF tournament, improve to 21-4 overall and 20-3 in the MPSF. Pacific falls to 8-19 overall and 5-18 in MPSF play.
“We played a little bit of a different lineup, trying to get some of our other guys some reps,” BYU head coach Chris McGown said. “They came in and played hard. Overall, we were a little bit ragged having been on the road and having some different guys in the lineup. We worked hard and we did what we do and turned a few points and kept grinding it out.”
Taylor Sander had 11 kills, four blocks, two digs and a service ace for BYU. Devin Young had a match-high six blocks and added eight kills.
The Cougars out-blocked the Tigers 12.0 – 6.5.
The Cougars took a 2-0 lead in the first set but the Tigers matched it and stayed on pace before taking a 5-4 advantage. Ben Patch and Michael Hatch posted a block to put the Cougars back on top and Patch followed it up with a kill to extend the advantage to 10-8. After Pacific answered with back-to-back points of its own, the Cougars marched on with a balanced offensive attack for a 6-1 run and the 16-11 lead. BYU held a four-point cushion until it took a 24-19 lead and the Tigers put up a pair of points to cut it to 24-21. Young finished off the set on the next point for BYU to go up 1-0 in the match.
The second set saw a back-and-forth battle. BYU took a 9-7 lead after a service ace from Ryan Boyce but the Tigers quickly evened it back up. BYU finally broke the trend and went on a 3-0 run for a 14-11 lead but the Tigers bounced back to even the set at 16-16. Tied at 19 apiece, Pacific fired off a pair of service aces to take a 21-19 lead. Sander sparked a 5-1 run to position BYU with set point at 24-22. With a kill from Phil Fuchs, the Cougars grabbed the set 25-23.
Pacific jumped out early in the third set, 4-1, and held the lead until BYU flipped the score in its favor, 12-11, after two kills from Fuchs. Sander sparked a 6-0 BYU run to widen the gap to 19-13. The Cougars capitalized on Tiger errors during the run and a kill and ace from Fuchs. Pacific ended the run and created a 6-1 run of its own with straight kills to come within one, 20-19. A Sander kill turned the momentum back in BYU’s favor as the Cougars went back up 24-19. Ending the set on a 5-0 run, a Tiger error secured the match for BYU.
The Cougars wrap up their regular season Saturday night at No. 8 Stanford. The match is slated to start at 7 p.m. PDT and video streaming is available.