(Photo by Jonathan Hardy/BYU Photo)
PROVO, Utah – After falling to No. 7 Long Beach State on Friday night, No. 1 BYU men's volleyball bounced back with a 3-1 (25-15, 25-22, 22-25, 25-23) win over No. 9 Cal State Northridge in the Smith Fieldhouse.
"I thought we did a lot of really good things and when I look at the numbers overall this was a nice performance by us," head coach Chris McGown said. "We had some weaknesses exposed this weekend and that's just fine. Hopefully we'll learn some lessons by losing and hopefully we'll learn some lessons through our win tonight."
With Saturday's win, BYU improves to 6-2 on the season and 5-1 in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation. Cal State Northridge falls to 4-3 on the year and 2-3 in MPSF play.
Junior Taylor Sander led the Cougars with 18 kills, tying Northridge's Sam Holt for the match-high. Freshman Ben Patch had 15 kills and three blocks while sophomore Josue Rivera contributed eight kills and six blocks on the night. Junior Devin Young had a match-high 9 blocks to go along with six kills and a .625 hitting percentage.
Early in the first set, BYU used a 5-0 run to take a 7-4 lead over Northridge. Rivera and Patch each had a kill during the run, which also included a pair of BYU blocks. Another 3-0 run gave BYU an 11-7 lead. With the Cougars leading 16-10, senior Ryan Boyce made a crowd-pleasing effort, diving out of bounds to keep the ball in play, which resulted in a kill for Young. BYU closed the set with another 3-0 run, capped off by a triple block by Rivera, Patch, and freshman Michael Hatch. Sander had four kills and three digs in the opening set.
The Matadors bounced back in the second set, taking an 11-9 lead with a kill by Holt. After a BYU timeout, the home team slowly regained the lead, using a 10-3 run to take a 21-17 advantage. Sander and Patch each contributed a kill during the run. BYU won the second set on a kill by Patch, his seventh of the game. The Cougars' hitting percentage was .462 during the set.
The third set got off to a sloppy start, with half of the first 10 points scored on service errors. The Matadors capitalized on the Cougars' mistakes, steadily building a 14-9 lead before the home team called a timeout. Another BYU service error gave Northridge a six-point lead at 17-11. The Cougars trimmed the lead to three at 23-21, but their comeback was too little, too late and the Matadors won the set on Jared Moore's kill.
In the fourth set, Boyce's hustle ignited the room once again as he dove out of bounds and bumped the ball back to Sander for a kill. BYU led 10-7 before a 3-0 run by the Matadors tied the game and prompted a Cougar timeout. Northridge took a 13-12 lead and the teams proceeded to exchange points from there. Neither team led by more than one until Young and Sander teamed up for a block that gave the Cougars a 21-19 advantage. The Matadors tied the game at 23, but Travis Magorien's service error gave BYU a sideout for match point. The Cougars took advantage for a 25-23 win and closed out the match 3-1.
The Cougars continue their stay at home as they face UC Santa Barbara at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 7 at the Smith Fieldhouse.