Five-set thriller goes to BYU

PROVO, Utah –The No. 2 BYU men’s volleyball team defeated No. 5 Stanford on Saturday night, 3-2 (23-25, 25-23, 21-25, 25-21,15-13) to end a six-match all-time losing streak against the Cardinal that dates back to 2010.

“I’m super proud of the way the guys battled tonight,” said BYU head coach Chris McGown. “Stanford’s a really great team, and a team we’ve had trouble with over the last few seasons, so this was a milestone match for us to get.”

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Freshman Ben Patch led all players with a career-high 26 kills, followed closely by Taylor Sander with 25. Patch also led the squad with a .465 attack. Senior Ryan Boyce paced the offense with 57 assists while adding five digs and five blocks. 

Josue Rivera finished with 12 kills, a .458 attack and a game-high 13 digs. 

In the decisive fifth set, BYU (11-3, 10-2 MSPF) took an early 3-1 lead behind kills from Sander and Rivera. Stanford (9-6, 6-6 MPSF) came back to tie the set at 3-3 and 4-4 before the Cougars again took the lead, this time keeping it. The teams tied once more at 10-10 but kills from Patch and Sander gave the Cougars the momentum they needed for the 15-13 final, and match victory.

“We needed to win this at home,” McGown said. “Every match is important but particularly the ones at home we need to win. I was proud of how the guys stayed composed with some big plays, a loud crowd, etc. – they really stepped up tonight.”

After being down 7-4 early in the first set, the Cougars fought back and tied the match at 10-10 behind a kill from Sander. The teams traded points from there, all the way to 23-23, before Stanford took the final two points off BYU errors for the 25-23 set victory.

BYU and Stanford played back-and-forth for much of the second set until the Cardinal took a late 22-20 lead. A kill from Brian Cook gave Stanford an even larger lead at 23-20 but the home team was ready for a comeback. The Cougars scored five-straight points to finish off the set 25-23 and tie the match at 1-1.

Set three was similar to set two with neither team taking a lead of more than two points but both taking turns with the lead. The Cardinal led first at 5-3 and stayed in front until BYU tied it up at 7-7. More back-and-forth action comprised the rest of the set until Stanford took a late 21-19 lead. Sander and Patch tried to bring the Cougars back in it with a pair of kills but errors from the home team down the stretch gave the Cardinal the 25-21 win. 

The Cougars scored the first point in set four, a kill from Rivera, and didn’t trail through the rest of it. Their largest lead of the set came after a kill from Devin Young put BYU up 20-16 and on its way to a 25-21 set victory to tie the match at 2-2. BYU hit .583 in set four compared to Stanford’s .368.

The Cougars are back on the road next weekend with matches against UC irvine March 1 and UC San Diego March 2.