(Photo by Jaren Wilkey/BYU Photo)
PROVO, Utah – The No. 1 BYU men’s volleyball team fell 3-0 (33-35, 23-25, 22-25) to the No. 7 Stanford Cardinal Saturday at the Smith Fieldhouse, marking the first time the team has been swept in a match this season.
"That's a really good Stanford team out there," said BYU head coach Chris McGown. "They were playing with a lot of confidence tonight. One thing, for us, is that we're trying to support whoever is on the court one hundred percent, and I think the guys have been great about that."
Futi Tavana led the Cougars with 11 kills while Robb Stowell finished with 10. Joe Kauliakoma assisted on 41 points and Andrew Heap led with six digs.
The loss also marks the first time the Cougars have lost two home matches in the same weekend since 2002 when Pepperdine twice defeated BYU. Its also only the fourth time BYU has fallen 3-0 in the past 73 home matches dating back to 2006.
BYU jumped out to an early 9-5 lead in the first set before Stanford rallied back to take a three-point lead at 22-19. Behind strong play from Tavana, who had six kills in the set, BYU came back to tie it at 22-22. The teams battled well beyond the 25-point mark before the Cardinal eventually took the set 35-33.
"It was a great first set tonight," McGown said. "It was fun for our guys to be in it like that. I thought we battled hard but it just didn't go our way."
Set two was another back and forth battle. The teams were tied 18 times and neither team was ever ahead by more than two. BYU took a late 21-20 lead before Stanford ended the game on a 5-2 run to win 25-23.
Stanford came out hard in the third set and built a quick 5-1 lead. The Cougars fought back to tie the score at 8-all and then again at 18-18. Following the tie, the Cardinal scored four straight to make it 22-18. BYU was unable to overcome the deficit and lost the final set 25-22.
"I thought we were better tonight," McGown said. "The biggest thing I'm going to take away is that we've got Futi (Tavana) back in the lineup and he hasn't been there for a while. He's still figuring things out but is definitely improving. Our primary passers are two freshman and a sophomore so we're young but I thought they played well tonight and with a lot of maturity."
The Cougars will travel to California to continue their season when they take on UC San Diego. The first match will be on Thursday, February 9, at 7:00 p.m. PST and the second match will take place Saturday, February 11, at 1:00 p.m.