Cougars Fall in Four
PALO ALTO -- The BYU men's volleyball team lost a four-set match (23-25, 17-25, 26-24, 22-25) to Stanford on Saturday, allowing the Cardinal a weekend sweep.
"Stanford played a great match and our passing struggled at times against a tough Cardinal serve," said BYU interim head coach Rob Neilson. "I was proud of our effort, but we need to improve as a team in a lot of areas in order to attain our goals. This was a humbling experience, and our team is hungry to get back to work."
Three Cougars recorded double-digit kills with Robb Stowell's 16 leading the pack. Taylor Sander had 14 and Futi Tavana had 11.
BYU struggled in sets one and two, allowing Stanford to take the early lead, but fought back in the third to extend the match.
In set three, the score was back-and-forth until two kills from Sander put BYU in the lead where they would stay to finish out the set. Sander had six kills in the third.
Stanford took set four in a close 25-22 final.
The Cardinal hit .412 compared to BYU's .275 on the night. Brad Lawson led Stanford with 19 kills, hitting .467.
Continuing in conference play, the Cougars will travel to Stockton, Calif., to compete against the Pacific Tigers on Friday and Saturday, Jan. 21 and 22, at 7 p.m. PT.
Conference Opener At Stanford
The No. 2 BYU men's volleyball team will begin its conference season this weekend against the defending 2010 national champions, No. 4 Stanford, on Jan. 14 and 15 at 7:30 p.m. PT in California.
Traveling with a 3-0 record to start the season after winning the annual Gaucho Invitational on UC Santa Barbara campus, the Cougars will play matches four and five of their 7-game road streak to kick off the 2011 season.
True freshman Taylor Sander currently leads the team with 40 kills and 16 digs on 11 sets. Sander was named All-Tournament MVP at the Invitational and MPSF Player of the Week after his first showing in a BYU jersey.
Teammates Robb Stowell, Futi Tavana, Steve Rindfleisch and Otavio Souza are also in double-figure kills with 27, 18, 12 and 12, respectively. The Cougars are thus far out-hitting their opponents 127-44.
Stanford (1-0) was picked to finish third in the MPSF and is returning three starters, including All-America libero Erik Shoji, and 13 letterwinners overall.
Stanford enters the conference season having won seven consecutive matches and 17 consecutive sets. The last time they lost a match at UCLA in its penultimate 2010 regular season contest of 2010. Last season, the Cougars and Cardinal split the two-game series on BYU's home court.
Live stats for both games can be followed on Gametracker through the Stanford athletics schedule page. Click HERE for a link.