PROVO, Utah—No. 3 BYU men's volleyball defeated No. 8 UC Irvine at home Friday evening in a brief three-set battle 3-0 (25-22, 25-22, 25-17).
“They are a physical team in every position,” head coach Chris McGown said. “I think to some extent that they were a little road weary. The travel caught up with them a little bit.”
Taylor Sander led the way with 19 kills on a .424 clip. He was helped out by freshman Tim Dobbert, who had 10 kills on a .318 clip and a career-high four blocks. Middle blocker Micheal Hatch contributed six blocks, backed up by Josue Rivera and Devin Young with five apiece (a season high for Rivera). Tyler Heap had 41 assists.
BYU (14-4, 14-2 MPSF) came from behind to win the first game of the set 25-22 against UC Irvine (14-9, 11-8 MPSF). BYU took the lead late in the set with a 4-0 run which was the result of four UC Irvine errors. Dobbert widened the gap with an impressive ace followed up by a hit that resulted in two crucial Cougar points.
BYU won the second set of the match 25-22. The Cougars battled back and forth with the Anteaters throughout the second set all the way to set point. BYU dominated with 17 kills in the second set while UCI only had 12. Dobbert closed the second set with his second ace of the night.
The Cougars trailed for the first portion of the third set, earning their first lead at 9-8. The Anteaters tied again at 11-11 before BYU took the lead once more and held it through the end of the match. Rivera closed out the third game of the match with an ace. BYU had 13 kills in the third set while Irvine only had five.
“For us, it’s really nice to be at home,” McGown said. “That’s a really good team, and I’m sure we will see more of them down the road.“
BYU will play UC San Diego Saturday at the Smith Fieldhouse at 7 p.m. MDT. The match will be broadcast live on BYUtv and BYU Radio.
No. 3 BYU volleyball hosts No. 8 UC Irvine, UC San Diego
PROVO, Utah—No. 3 BYU men’s volleyball welcomes No. 8 UC Irvine and UC San Diego to the Fieldhouse Friday and Saturday, respectively, for the first matches of a five-match home stand. Both matches begin at 7 p.m. MDT and will be broadcast live on BYUtv.
The Cougars (13-4, 13-2 MPSF) defeated the Anteaters (13-8, 10-7 MPSF) in five sets in Irvine, Calif., Jan. 17. Senior Taylor Sander recorded 25 kills and nine digs against UC Irvine, helped out by Tyler Heap’s career-high 54 assists. BYU turned around and defeated UC San Diego (1-18, 0-17 MPSF) on the road Jan. 18.
BYU defeated Cal State Northridge 3-1 on the road Saturday. UC Irvine is on a four-match win streak after a pair of wins at Hawai’i, and UC San Diego comes off 3-0 losses to UC Santa Barbara and UCLA. The Cougars are 42-14 all-time against the Anteaters and 35-0 all-time against the Tritons.
Sander’s 4.58 kills per set are No. 2 in the nation and his .50 aces per set are No. 5. Cougar Michael Hatch is No. 3 in the NCAA for blocks per set with 1.49, and Heap is No. 1 in assists per set with 10.57.
The Cougars are ranked No. 4 for blocks per set with 2.90.
Zack La Cavera leads UC Irvine with 3.59 kills per set, helped out by Daniel Stork’s 10.50 assists per set. At the net, La Cavera and Jeremy Dejno average .64 and .56 blocks per set, respectively.
Mike Brunsting leads UC San Diego with 2.26 kills per set. Garrett Dempsey leads in assists with 8.51 per set. Fred Stahl averages .67 blocks per set.
Both matches can be streamed live online for free. For links to live stats and live streaming, visit the BYU men’s volleyball schedule page.