(Photo by Jaren Wilkey/BYU Photo)
PROVO, Utah – Senior Futi Tavana set the BYU record for total blocks in the rally scoring era to lead the No. 5 BYU men’s volleyball team to its second-straight home match sweep, a victory over No. 11 Pacific (25-23, 25-12, 25-18).
"He (Tavana) worked really hard to come back from an injury this fall and to have him out here playing great is just wonderful for us," BYU head coach Chris McGown said. "It was also nice to play with composure to get through our mistakes and win those sets. Ultimately we would like to come right out of the gates, play great and we need to find ways to do that."
Tavana broke the record when he recorded his 539th career block early in the third set. He finished with eight blocks in the match and now has 541 for his career.
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Sophomore Taylor Sander led the Cougars with 11 kills in the match, while senior Robb Stowell finished with nine and Josue Rivera had seven. Joe Kauliakamoa finished with 33 of BYU’s 36 assists to lead the match.
The first set went back and forth throughout, and featured 11 ties. Pacific took the early lead at 4-2 and did not lose the lead until the Cougars took over at 10-9. BYU took the lead for good after rallying to go up 19-18. Taylor Sander and Josue Rivera recorded three kills apiece to lead the Cougars in the set.
BYU controlled game two from the beginning and led the entire way. Sander and Stowell tied for the game lead with four kills apiece, while Kauliakamoa recorded 12 assists. Sander also recorded two aces in the game while Tavana scored the final two points to secure the 13-point set win.
"Having those two (Sander and Tavana) on the court and healthy is wonderful for us," McGown said. "Taylor makes everybody better and Futi is feeling physically good and has been performing really well in games even though he has been limited in practice."
The Cougars took an early lead in the third set before Pacific came back to tie it at 11. BYU responded by scoring nine of the next 10 points to go up 20-12. Pacific managed a slight comeback by outscoring BYU 6-5 the rest of the way, but it was too little too late and BYU closed the match after three sets.
BYU and Pacific will face off in the Smith Fieldhouse again tomorrow at 7:00 p.m. MST. The game can be seen live on BYUtv and online live at byutvsports.com/gameday.