(Photo by BYU Photo)
PROVO, Utah – Double-digit kills from Tim Dobbert and Jake Langlois led No. 1 BYU men’s volleyball to a 3-1 win (25-17, 25-17, 29-31, 25-12) over No. 14 George Mason in the last match of the AVCA Showcase Saturday night at the Smith Fieldhouse.
“I thought overall, the guys did a good job,” BYU head coach Shawn Olmstead said. “When the ball was in our possession, for the most part we did well. Without a doubt, they responded really well in the fourth set and it was good from there.”
BYU (2-0) out-hit George Mason (0-3) with a .345 clip to .132. The Patriots struggled at the service line, missing 28 serves to the Cougars’ 15 errors. BYU dominated at the net, blocking the ball 16 times.
Dobbert led the Cougars with team highs in kills and digs with 13 and eight, respectively. He also notched a career-high tying eight blocks in the win. Langlois had 12 kills, four blocks and three digs. Michael Hatch led all players in blocks with nine along with his three kills. Leo Durkin had 32 assists and four digs on the night.
BYU jumped out to an early 2-0 lead in the first set after a block from Hatch, but George Mason responded by tying it up. Brenden Sander tooled the ball off the block to spark the team on a 5-1 run, extending the advantage to 7-3. Langlois came soaring out of the back row for the hard kill. BYU then went on a 7-2 run to push the lead to 21-12. The run included two kills from Dobbert and two blocks. Two errors in a row from George Mason sealed the 25-17 win.
The second set started out with the two teams trading points, neither able to go on a big run. Langlois hit the ball off-speed to make it drop right in the middle of the court, tying the set up 5-5. The teams were knotted up a few more times before the Cougars began pulling away. Six of BYU’s next seven points came from George Mason errors, putting BYU up 12-10.
Back-to-back kills from Price Jarman and Langlois pushed the lead to 16-12. The duo of Sander and Hatch stood strong at the net, getting two blocks in a row, sparking four unanswered points for the Cougars to give them a 22-14 lead. Kiril Meretev came off the bench to serve an ace, putting BYU at set point. The Cougars won the second set 25-17 after another service error from the Patriots.
Errors plagued George Mason again in the third set, accounting for six of BYU’s first seven points. Sander hit an off-speed ball from the back row to throw off the defense and earn the kill, making the Cougar lead 8-7. For the rest of the set, the two teams tied each other back and forth, trading the lead. A block from Jarman and Langlois gave BYU a two-point lead, 14-12.
In the last half of the third set, Dobbert killed the ball six times, including two shots down the line to break the ties. Sander found the deep corner to put the Cougars at set point, 24-23. Jarman drilled the ball at the 10-foot line to tie it up 29-29, but George Mason ended up taking the third set, 31-29.
With a great defensive effort, Durkin, Hatch and Dobbert blocked the ball to get BYU to an early 2-0 edge in the fourth set. A kill from Langlois sparked a 5-1 run for the Cougars to push the advantage to 8-3.
BYU then went on a 10-2 run made up of kills from Jarman, Langlois and Sander to make it 18-7. A kill from Sander capped off the run after a long rally of great saves, including a great dig by Langlois from a ball deflected off the block. BYU closed out the set with a 4-1 run that saw back-to-back blocks from Joseph Grosh and Dobbert. A George Mason hitting error won the set for BYU, 25-12.
The Cougars start Mountain Pacific Sports Federation play next weekend, hosting Stanford on Friday and Saturday. Both matches start at 7 p.m. MST at the Smith Fieldhouse. The games will be televised on BYUtv and will be simulcast on BYU Radio – Sirius XM 143.
UC Irvine vs. Loyola-Chicago
No. 3 Loyola-Chicago upset No. 2 UC Irvine in the early match at the Smith Fieldhouse Saturday afternoon. The score stayed close during the first set before Loyola-Chicago broke out of a 15-all tie and won the first set 25-21. The Ramblers held a commanding lead in the second set and went on to win 25-19. In the third set, the Anteaters fought back to win 25-22 to stay alive in the match. Despite trailing early in the fourth set, UC Irvine battled back to win a close one in extra points, 28-26. Loyola-Chicago won the fifth set and match 15-9 to complete the upset. BYU will travel to face UC Irvine January 29 at 7:00 p.m. PST.