Junior Futi Tavana hit a game-high .737 against the Long Beach State in BYU's four-set victory, Thursday. (Photo by Ryan Faulkner)
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PROVO, Utah -- In a matchup between two top five teams, the No. 2 BYU Cougars defeated No. 4 Long Beach State (25-22, 20-25, 25-20, 25-12) on Thursday at the Smith Fieldhouse.
“We had to make some adjustments early in the match but we just told our guys to play their game and play disciplined,” interim head coach Rob Nielson said. “We got on a little bit of a roll in that third game and got some things to go our way.”
Robb Stowell led the Cougars in kills with 16 and also recorded six digs. Futi Tavana contributed a season-high 15 kills on a .737 hitting percentage and led BYU in kills for the final two sets.
Also recording double-digit kills was Taylor Sander with 12. Alex DaPron added eight kills and five digs to help BYU win its third consecutive match over a ranked opponent.
Set one went back and forth for the duration, featuring six lead changes and 11 ties. Taylor Sander led BYU to an early 3-1 lead with back-to-back aces, but Long Beach State was able to regain the lead moments later, 6-7. A Stowell kill pushed the Cougars in front at 17-16, a lead BYU refused to relinquish the rest of the way as they took the 25-22 victory.
BYU came out strong in the second set and maintained a small lead until the 49ers tied it at 13-13. From there Long Beach State controlled the set, recording zero errors to the Cougars six on their way to a 25-20 win that tied up the match count at 1-all. Stowell and Sander each recorded five kills in the set to lead BYU.
Futi Tavana set the tone early in the third with a powerful kill to give BYU a 1-0 lead. Behind Tavana’s set-leading five kills and the team’s four blocks, the Cougars never trailed, leading by as much as seven before winning by five, 25-20.
Momentum from the third set carried to the fourth as the Cougars dominated Long Beach State, taking the set 25-12. Tavana again led BYU in kills with five with an .833 hitting percentage.
BYU will be back in action against the 49ers Friday night at 7:00 pm at the Smith Fieldhouse. BYUtv will broadcast the game.