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Four-Set Victory On The Road
SANTA BARBARA -- After losing set one, the No. 2 BYU men's volleyball team (11-3) rallied back to win the next three on its way to a road victory (15-25, 25-23, 25-20, 25-20) over No. 4 UC Santa Barbara, Thursday.
Freshman Taylor Sander led the Cougars, and all players, with 17 kills against the Gauchos for his eighth time to record double-digit kills this season and also tied his career-high with three services aces.
Joining Sander in double figures was junior Robb Stowell with 14 kills while also adding a game-high six blocks. Futi Tavana also recorded six blocks in the win.
After losing set one the Cougars took back set two in a close 25-23 final, and sets three and four in identical 25-20 victories.
The Gauchos recorded a .288 hitting percentage compared to BYU's close .275 but the Cougars tallied 12.5 blocks to just six from UCSB. Five players for BYU recorded three or more blocks against the Gauchos.
The series continues tomorrow when BYU plays UCSB again in the Thunderdome at 7 p.m. PT. Follow the game here on Gametracker.
No. 2 On The Road Again
Two more road matches are on the docket this weekend for the No. 2 BYU men's volleyball team as they take on UC Santa Barbara in California on Thursday and Friday, Feb. 17 and 18, at 7 p.m. PT.
The Cougars are traveling on a 10-3 overall record with Junior Robb Stowell leading the Cougar attack on 179 kills this season and an overall .359 hitting percentage. Stowell was also recently named MPSF Player of the Week for the week of February 7.
Freshman Taylor Sander follows closely with 129 kills and a .309 attack. Setter Joe Kauliakamoa has recorded 406 assists this season as he paces the Cougar offense, averaging 9.67 per set.
The fourth-ranked UC Santa Barbara Gauchos will host the Cougars with an 8-5 overall record and are currently fifth in the MPSF rankings, behind BYU’s second-place standing.
Jeff Menzel and Cullen Irons lead the Gauchos, and have recorded 173 and 167 kills, respectively, this season while hitting .334 and .298, respectively.
The Cougars lead the overall series against UCSB 25-18.
BYU split their last weekend outing with a sweep win over No. 14 Lewis and a loss to Loyola-Chicago. In the two matches, senior Kevin Sagers recorded 20 kills for his first back-to-back double-digit kill performance and a .324 combined hitting percentage.
The Bruins are coming off a sweep weekend against the UCLA Bruins with a 3-1 match score on both Wednesday and Friday night.
Home matches in the Smith Fieldhouse resume on Thursday and Friday, Feb. 24 and 25, when the Cougars take on UC San Diego.