(Photo by BYU Photo/Jaren Wilkey)
PROVO, Utah – Strong play from Jake Langlois and Ben Patch helped No. 3 BYU men’s volleyball sweep No. 7 UC Irvine (25-21, 25-18, 28-26) in the second match between the two teams at the Smith Fieldhouse Saturday night.
"We were a lot more confident and assertive from the service line, so I was really proud of the guys for doing that," BYU head coach Shawn Olmstead said. "There was good energy as well. We stayed a lot more composed than we did last night. The guys wanted a redo. They felt like they let a few things slip through their fingers last night and they wanted this shot. I was excited for them."
Langlois recorded 12 kills on a .500 clip and contributed four blocks while Patch added 12 kills and four digs. Leo Durkin tallied 32 assists and five digs during BYU's victory. The Cougars improved to 7-2 overall with the win (2-1 Mountain Pacific Sports Federation) while UC Irvine fell to 7-3 (4-2 MPSF).
Back-to-back service aces by Langlois and a kill by Patch got the Cougars rolling with a 6-4 lead to open the first set. BYU jumped up to a 13-7 advantage on three consecutive Anteater miscues to force UC Irvine to use its second timeout of the set. The Cougars maintained a comfortable margin as Brenden Sander and Price Jarman teamed up for a block to extend the Cougars’ lead, 16-9. UC Irvine fought back to pull within two, 21-19, but a block by Sander and Joseph Grosh held off the Anteaters on the next point. BYU won the set 25-21 on a Tim Dobbert kill.
UC Irvine notched the first point of the second set before the Cougars answered with a kill by Sander. The opponents traded points, but BYU pulled ahead 8-5 on a decisive Langlois kill. The Anteaters cut the deficit back to one, 14-13, before BYU extended its advantage to four on a pair of Jarman service aces. Patch and Langlois followed with kills to push BYU ahead 21-14. The Cougars fueled offensive momentum until the end of the set, taking a 25-18 victory on a UC Irvine attack error.
The Anteaters weren’t ready to give up as they rallied to match BYU’s pace at the beginning of the third set. Both teams alternated service errors while neither team held more than a two-point margin. A Langlois kill gave the Cougars a 14-13 lead before Anteater kills contributed to an 18-15 UC Irvine advantage. BYU fought back to tie the score 20-20 and retake the lead on a Langlois kill. Patch and Langlois logged kills to send BYU ahead 23-21. The Anteaters tied the set again, 24-24, but the Cougars pulled out in the end with a 28-26 win on a UC Irvine attack error.
The Cougars take on UCLA at the Smith Fieldhouse next Friday, Feb. 3, and Saturday, Feb. 4, with both matches beginning at 7 p.m. MST. Friday’s match will be broadcast on BYUtv and simulcast on BYU Radio – Sirius XM 143 while Saturday’s match will be streamed live on TheW.tv.