(Photo by BYU Photo/Jaren Wilkey)
COLUMBUS, Ohio – A strong block at the net helped No. 3 seed BYU men’s volleyball sweep No. 6 seed Barton (25-19, 25-11, 25-15) Tuesday night at St. John Arena to advance to the Final Four of the NCAA Tournament.
“Congrats to Barton College on an outstanding season,” BYU head coach Shawn Olmstead said. “A huge congrats to our guys as well. It was a nice team effort tonight. We did a good job from the service line and a great job attacking. We can still improve our passing so we're going to work on that, but overall, a great team performance from our guys.”
Brenden Sander led the Cougars with 11 kills on a .409 clip to go with a career-high eight blocks. Price Jarman and Joseph Grosh had six and five blocks, respectively. Jake Langlois had seven kills and Tim Dobbert added six kills before being subbed out midway through the second set. Leo Durkin set the team with 20 assists and had a career-high tying three aces. Ben Patch had a career-high five aces in the win.
Langlois gave BYU (25-4) its first two points of the first set off of kills to even the score against Barton (23-6) 2-2. The contest remained close until a block from Dobbert, Durkin and Grosh gave the Cougars an 11-8 lead. A Dobbert kill extended the advantage to four at 17-13, and a Grosh overpass kill forced a Bulldog timeout with BYU up 19-14. Sander then served up the first ace of the night at set point to give the Cougars a 25-19 win.
Back-to-back Durkin aces helped put BYU ahead 8-1 to start the second set. Barton began to chip away at the lead, collecting consecutive kills from Aleksa Brkovic, to make it 11-5, Cougars. BYU countered with a 4-0 run, however, to go up by double-digits at 15-5. The Cougars cruised from there to the end of the set, winning 25-11 on a Grosh kill.
The third set started close as a Patch ace helped BYU to a 7-4 lead early. The Bulldogs scored the next four points, though, to take an 8-7 edge. The Cougars fought back to go up 14-11 on a Sander kill. Three-straight aces from Patch extended the lead to six at 20-14, and a Wil Stanley, Christian Rupert and Sander block ended the set and match 25-15.
The Cougars return to St. John Arena Thursday, May 4, at 6 p.m. EDT, to face off against No. 2 seed Long Beach State. The match will be streamed live on NCAA.com.