(Photo by Marcos Escalona/ BYU Photo)
PROVO, Utah – Winning its 10th match in a row, the No. 1 BYU men’s volleyball team topped No. 5 Pepperdine 3-1 (25-15, 23-25, 25-23, 25-18) on Thursday night at the Smith Fieldhouse.
"I thought we played really well tonight," said BYU head coach Chris McGown. "We're starting to string together matches where we're consistently playing well. I looked at the stat sheet after the match and thought maybe I was just looking at a single set - I didn't realize we had done so well offensively throughout the entire match. These kind of performances are what we're starting to do every night and that's exciting. The guys are realizing how good they can be."
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The Cougars (18-3, 17-2 MPSF) hit .468 for the match, racking up 53 kills and had just nine attack errors on the night. Taylor Sander had 17 kills to go along with 10 digs while Ben Patch and Josue Rivera added 13 and 10 kills, respectively. BYU had 9.5 blocks and took advantage of 24 attack errors from Pepperdine (12-8, 11-8 MPSF) to continue its hot streak.
BYU jumped out to a 7-3 lead behind three early kills from Patch in set one. Pepperdine’s errors helped spurn a 5-0 run to pad the Cougar lead to 17-7 and a late kill by Michael Hatch sealed the resounding 25-15 victory in the first set. BYU hit .615 for the opening set and cashed in on nine hitting errors from the Waves.
Pepperdine came out fighting in the second set, keeping the score tied 7-7 behind three kills from Maurice Torres. Sander put together a kill and a block to give BYU back-to-back scores and take a 15-13 lead after going back and forth. Sander recorded consecutive kills to break a 20-20 tie but the Wave’s battled back with a 25-23 win and evened the match at 1-1.
Riding the momentum from set two, Pepperdine jumped out to an 11-8 lead before the Cougars cut it down to one point with a quick rally. The Waves answered and pushed their lead back to four points at 14-10 behind a hitting percentage of .471 to start the set.
BYU woke up at that point and tied the score at 15-15 on a 5-1 run. An ace from Ryan Boyce gave BYU an 18-17 lead and a kill from Patch followed by a Pepperdine error gave the Cougars a little breathing room. BYU went on to win 25-23 and take a 2-1 edge in the match.
The fourth set was all BYU from the 3-3 mark to the end. The Cougars went on an 8-3 run and then added another 5-0 run later to make it 17-8. After BYU doubled up the Waves, the home team cruised to a 25-18 victory in the set, taking the match 3-1. The Cougars hit .593 for the set with 17 kills and just one attack error.
BYU will next host USC in its final home match of the regular season on Saturday at 8 p.m. MDT in the Smith Fieldhouse. It will be broadcast live on BYUtv and byutvsports.com