Junior Andrew Stewart led the Cougars on Saturday with 13 kills and six blocks. (Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)
SANTA BARBARA -- BYU’s No. 9-ranked men’s volleyball team swept Pacific 30-28, 30-18, 30-26 in its final match of the 45th Annual UC Santa Barbara/Elephant Bar Collegiate Invitational. With the win the Cougars secured an eighth-place finish in the tournament and improved to 1-2 on the season.
“It was good to play and compete and to win our last match in this tournament,” said BYU head coach Shawn Patchell. “We definitely had some rust after the five week break. This tournament was important to help us to get back to where we were a month ago.”
Junior outside hitter Andrew Stewart led the Cougars with 13 kills and six blocks, while Mat Taylor added 10 kills of his own. Kent Tuttle recorded a match-high five digs.
The Cougars pulled out a close 30-28 win in the first set after a kill by Tuttle. Pacific came back and scored the first point of the second set, before BYU went on a 7-1 run. Up 27-18, the Cougars scored three consecutive points, including game point on a service ace.
Anxious to win its first match of the season, BYU came out strong in the final set. Kills by Stewart and Taylor gave the Cougars a 12-7 advantage, but the Tigers managed to score five-straight points to come within one. The tandem of Stewart and Taylor continued to dominate offensively, as a kill by Taylor for match point clinched BYU’s first win of the season.
“We have to play with less unforced errors, we had too many this weekend,” said Patchell. “This experience will help us play better when it counts and we start playing MPSF teams.”
Up next the Cougars hold their home opener against Cal Baptist on Jan. 15 at 7 p.m. MT in the Smith Fieldhouse. The team will also host Lewis University on Jan. 17.