Sander aces record in BYU sweep of UCSD

(Photo by Todd Wakefield/BYU Photo)

LA JOLLA, Calif. – Taylor Sander broke BYU men’s volleyball’s record for aces in a match with nine Saturday, helping the Cougars to a sweep (25-12, 25-19, 25-17) of UC San Diego.

"I thought the serving was really good, and we made some nice plays," BYU head coach Chris McGown said. "We also got a bunch of different players in the match. I thought the guys who came in played really hard and did good things, so I was pleased with the effort more than anything."

BYU vs. UCSD Box Score

Sander contributed 13 kills and five digs to go with his aces. Robbie Sutton helped out with a career-high 20 assists, while Matt Underwood led in digs with eight. Underwood and Michael Hatch tallied four blocks apiece to lead the Cougars (4-2, 4-0 MPSF).

Sander already holds the career aces record at BYU, increasing his career total to 144 after the UCSD match. The next closest Cougar career total is Ivan Perez (2005-08) with 91. Sander broke Kevin Sagers’ record for aces in a match. Sagers had eight vs. Loyola-Chicago in 2011.

"I probably would have taken him out, but I was interested to see if he was going to set that record," McGown said. "I'll be honest, it just seemed appropriate for him to hold that record."

The team hit .354 on the night, its highest percentage this season.

Tied 3-3 to start the third set, the Cougars strung together a 6-0 run powered by three straight kills from Phil Fuchs and two aces by Sander to lead 9-3. The aces gave Sander his career-high and BYU-record-breaking nine on the night.

BYU kept at least four points ahead of the Tritons the rest of the set, finishing 25-17 to complete the sweep.

BYU kicked off the first set with a 6-1 run. The Cougars quickly increased that lead to 10-2 with the help of back-to-back Sander aces. BYU increased its lead to 10 with a kill from Sander, putting the score at 19-9. Another pair of aces from Sander put BYU up 24-11, and Underwood had a kill to finish off the set 25-12.

The Cougars matched their first-game effort in the second set, firing off four straight points before the Tritons could respond. With the score at 9-4, Sander aced two more serves, pushing his total to seven on the night and setting a new career record for aces in a match.

Ahead 20-11, BYU allowed the Tritons to creep back into the game, cutting the deficit to 21-18 on a block. A UCSD service error and BYU block stopped the progression, and Underwood and Devin Young wrapped up the second set 25-19 on another block.

BYU returns to Provo for a Friday-night match against Stanford, ranked No. 1 in Monday’s AVCA poll. The first serve is at 7 p.m. MST live on BYUtv. The Cougars follow that match playing Pacific in the Smith Fieldhouse Saturday at 7 p.m. MST. 

Chris McGown Quotes

On Taylor Sander breaking the BYU single-match aces record:

"I probably would have taken him out, but I was interested to see if he was going to set that record. I'll be honest, it just seemed appropriate for him to hold that record."

On BYU's performance:

"We talked before the match that this very well could have been a match that went a little south on us, where we could underestimate an opponent and after a big, emotional, long match the night before, run into some trouble. We talked about the need to be really focused and energetic and a little hedgy before the match, just to make sure we were all in 100 percent. I thought the guys did a wonderful job doing that." 

"We served really, really well. Obviously Taylor did, but it came from everybody. I thought the serving was really good and we made some nice plays. We also got a bunch of different players in the match. I thought the guys who came in played really hard and did good things, so I was pleased with the effort more than anything. I thought our execution was pretty good too, considering we switched up the lineup a little bit. Mostly this was a match about having a great effort, and I thought the guys did that."