(Photo by Ryan Faulkner/BYU)
IRVINE, Calif. - Taking its talents on the road, the No. 2 BYU men's volleyball team defeated No. 1 UC Irvine in three sets (25-20, 25-21, 28-26) for its first conference win with some help from sophomore Taylor Sander and his career-high .727 hitting percentage.
Sander led all players with 17 kills, three service aces and a career-high .727 hitting percentage to help the Cougars sweep the Anteaters, a team they lost to just seven days ago. Teammate Quentin Smith contributed with a career-high eight kills, a .889 attack and four blocks. Robb Stowell was the other Cougar in double-figure kills with 14 while also adding four blocks.
Set one started off back-and-forth but the Cougars were able to take control in a 3-0 run to put them up 8-5 on a kill from Sander. From there, BYU held their lead until the Anteaters tied it up at 14 but another kill from Sander would set the Cougars back on top until a kill from Stowell sealed the set victory.
In set two, the Cougars kept the momentum going on an early 4-0 run to give them the 6-2 lead. The scored tied up at eight, 10 and 11 before BYU got out in front behind back-to-back service aces from Sander. Kills from Josue Rivera, Stowell and another ace from Sander gave the Cougars the second set victory and the 2-0 lead over UCI.
Set three saw 16 tied scores and two match points before the Cougars were able to get the 28-26 win for the match victory. Tied at 26-all on a kill from UCI's Austin D'Amore, it was back-to-back kills from Sander that gave BYU its 27th and 28th points.
Carson Clark and Jeremy Dejno led the Anteater attack with 11 kills each while Clark also contributed two aces. The Anteaters hit .329 as a team compared to BYU's .494.
The Cougars and Anteaters match-up again on Saturday at 7 p.m. PT. in California.
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