(Photo by BYU Photo)
GOLETA, Calif. – Junior Ben Patch helped No. 3 BYU men’s volleyball beat UC Santa Barbara in three sets (25-22, 25-14, 25-21) Friday night at the Thunderdome to cap off regular-season play.
“It was another great night from the service line and from our defense,” BYU head coach Shawn Olmstead said. “I'm extremely proud of the team and the work that they've put into this conference regular season. Each one of these guys has given their all to the team success.”
Patch led the Cougars with 14 kills to go with nine digs, just shy of a double-double. Price Jarman contributed four blocks and Erik Sikes had a career-high tying 15 digs. Leo Durkin collected 36 assists and Jake Langlois had nine kills and four aces in the win.
With the victory, BYU (23-3, 16-2 MPSF) claims at least a share of the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation title for the fourth time in the last five years.
A pair of blocks from Langlois and Jarman helped BYU stay even with UC Santa Barbara (10-16, 5-13 MPSF) at 6-6 to start the first set. A Patch kill gave the Cougars a 13-11 edge, and a Langlois service ace maintained the advantage at 19-16. BYU collected set point at 24-20 after a Gaucho service error before picking up the 25-22 win from a Patch kill.
A kill and ace from Patch helped the Cougars to a 5-1 lead early in the second set. UC Santa Barbara rallied to get back within a point, down 8-7, but BYU countered with a 5-1 run to go back up 13-8, forcing a Gaucho timeout. Another Patch kill made it 19-11 before a Langlois ace easily ended the set for the Cougars 25-14.
A pair of Jarman kills gave BYU a 6-5 edge in the third set. A Langlois kill then capped off a 5-1 Cougar run to give them a 16-11 lead, and a kill from Brenden Sander kept BYU up 22-18. Another kill from Langlois ended the set 25-21, completing the sweep.
The Cougars will begin play in the MPSF Tournament as either the No. 1 or No. 2 seed, depending on the outcome of Saturday’s Long Beach State/CSUN match. BYU will host at least the quarterfinal round beginning Saturday, April 15, at 7 p.m. MDT. The opponent is still to be determined.