(Photo by BYU Photo)
PROVO, Utah – Behind a strong performance from outside hitter Brenden Sander, No. 2 BYU men's volleyball defeated No. 12 CSUN in three sets (25-21, 25-18, 25-15) Friday night at the Smith Fieldhouse.
"I liked how the guys came out tonight from the start," BYU head coach Shawn Olmstead said. "I thought our distribution from left to right with our setter was really good and we played with great tempo at a good pace."
No. 2 BYU (13-2, 9-2 Mountain Pacific Sports Federation) recorded its ninth-consecutive sweep while outhitting No. 12 CSUN (10-6, 5-6 MPSF) with a .536 hitting percentage, the sixth-best hitting percentage in the BYU rally-scoring era. The Cougars were dominant at the net, recording 11.5 team blocks to just 3.0 for the Matadors.
Sander led the Cougars with 11 kills and six digs while hitting at a .588 clip. Ben Patch added eight kills and five digs while hitting at a .667 clip and Jake Langlois chipped in eight kills and three digs. Leo Durkin distributed the offense with 37 assists in the win.
Sander opened the match with a kill and BYU jumped out to a 4-2 lead over CSUN early in the first set. The Cougars kept a slim lead over the Matadors from there as back-to-back kills from Patch and Langlois gave BYU a 12-8 lead. BYU continued to control the momentum with a 4-0 run to establish an 18-13 advantage, forcing a CSUN timeout. The Matadors cut the lead to three but kills from Sanders and Langlois kept BYU in control, and a kill by Patch clinched the set 25-21 in favor of the Cougars. The Cougars did not commit a single error in the set, hitting at a .560 clip.
BYU continued to dominate in the second, opening the set on a 5-1 run with aces from Durkin and Sander. After a CSUN timeout, the Cougars kept a firm grasp on the lead and a kill by Price Jarman extended the lead to eight to make it 18-10 in favor of BYU. CSUN responded with a 6-2 run to make the score 20-16 in favor of the Cougars, cutting the lead to four. BYU then went on a 4-1 run to bring up set point at 24-17 before a service error by the Matadors gave BYU a 25-18 victory.
Out of the break, a kill by Joseph Grosh started a 5-1 run for the Cougars in the third set. BYU continued to protect the lead and an ace by Durkin extended the Cougar advantage to six with BYU up 12-6. At 17-10, both teams traded service errors before Sander had a powerful spike to give BYU a 20-12 lead. At 24-15, Tim Dobbert had a service ace to clinch the match for the Cougars.
BYU will face CSUN again Saturday night at 8 p.m. MST at the Smith Fieldhouse. The game will be broadcast on BYUtv and live stats will be available on the BYU men's schedule page.