(Photo by Jonathan Hardy/BYU Photo)
LONG BEACH, Calif. – In a Mountain Pacific Sports Federation showdown, the No. 1 BYU men’s volleyball team made quick of No. 4 Long Beach State in straight sets (25-22, 25-13, 25-15) Saturday on the road.
The victory extends the Cougars’ win-streak to nine straight matches. BYU improves to 17-3 overall and 16-2 in the MPSF while the 49ers fall to 17-7 overall and 13-6 in the MPSF.
“This was as good of a match as we’ve played,” BYU head coach Chris McGown said. “The boys put everything together tonight. We played great defense, we executed our game plan and we did a nice job offensively. We played as well-rounded of a game as I’ve seen us play, and it was against a tough team in a tough environment.”
Freshman Ben Patch led the Cougars with a match-high 12 kills, while junior Taylor Sander and sophomore Josue Rivera added 11 and 10 kills, respectively. Sander hit a match-high .476 clip and added six digs. Rivera contributed six blocks, tying a match-best. Senior Ryan Boyce distributed 35 assists.
BYU out-blocked the 49ers 13.5 – 4 and recorded a .434 attack while holding Long Beach State to a .154 clip.
The first set saw multiple ties after back-and-forth action. The 49ers took a 13-12 advantage but the Cougars fought back to pull ahead 17-15. A 3-1 Long Beach State run tied up the set once again at 18. BYU answered with back-to-back kills from Patch and Rivera to move in front 20-18. Tied at 21, the Cougars went on a 3-0 run capped off by an ace from Rivera for set point. BYU wrapped up the set 25-22 with a kill from Sander.
BYU started the second set strong with a 7-0 run to take an early 8-1 lead and kept the momentum throughout. The Cougars went on to extend their lead to a commanding double-digit advantage, 17-7, after a balanced offensive attack. Rivera set up BYU with set point and Russ Lavaja finished off the set with a kill, 25-13.
The Cougars took a quick 5-2 lead in the third. The 49ers pulled within one but BYU went on a 6-0 run to pad its lead to 14-7. The Cougars stayed on pace for an eight-point edge, 19-11. Long Beach State managed a 3-0 run to cut into BYU’s lead, 20-14, but a Patch kill and 49er error stopped the run. BYU capped off the set with its own 5-1 run. Sander completed the sweep with a kill for the 25-15 set three win.