Smith Fieldhouse Provo UT 84606
PROVO, Utah – Outside hitter Taylor Sander recorded a match-high 18 kills and the BYU men’s volleyball team defeated the University of Hawai’i in four sets (25-21, 25-21, 24-26, 25-20) on Saturday night at the Smith Fieldhouse.
“Offensively we did a lot of nice things,” BYU head coach Chris McGown said. “Defensively we played well too. We put up a nice night statistically. We hit all the markers that we’re after.”
Along with Sander’s 18 kills, the junior posted a hitting percentage of .500 and had three digs and one block. Senior Russ Lavaja was a defensive force, picking up a match-high 11 blocks while sophomore Jaylen Reyes had 12 digs to help out the Cougars (2-0, 2-0 MPSF).
The match started tight with both teams trading scores and neither team grabbing more than a one-point advantage. Tied 9-9, BYU got a little more separation to lead by as many as three but Hawai’i put together a run of its own to tie the score at 14-14. A 4-0 run gave the Cougars the cushion they needed as the team went on to win 25-21 in set one. Sander had six kills in the first set, hitting a perfect 1.000 clip.
BYU took a 4-1 lead in the second set and stretched its lead to 13-8 midway through. A kill from Phil Fuchs gave the Cougars a 21-14 lead but Hawai’i (0-2, 0-2 MPSF) made it interesting, cutting the deficit to 24-21. Fuchs ended the Warriors’ hopes with a block to give BYU the 2-0 lead in the match.
The third set started more like the first with a 7-7 tie out of the gates. Hawai’i got out in front after that, carrying a 21-17 lead, capitalizing on the Cougars’ errors. BYU wouldn’t quit, cutting the lead back to 22-21 heading into a Warrior’ timeout. Sander tied it up with a kill out of the break. Both teams went back and forth but Hawai’i edged the home team out for the 26-24 win in set three.
The Cougars regrouped in set four, taking a 9-5 lead to start. BYU kept the momentum going, building a 14-7 lead with a kill from Devin Young. Sander recorded back-to-back kills to push the Cougar lead to 17-9. Hawai’i outscored the Cougars 6-2 over the next stretch to keep within striking distance at 19-15. The Warriors would never get any closer than four points as BYU rolled to a 25-20 victory in the fourth set to win the match.
“I like where we’re at,” McGown said. “For our first weekend not knowing how we were going to come out and what we were going to look like I’m really happy with the result.”
BYU hosts Lewis next week with the first match on Friday, Jan. 11 at 7 p.m. in the Smith Fieldhouse.
PROVO, Utah – Kicking off the 2013 season, the No. 2 BYU men's volleyball team welcomes the University of Hawai'i to the Smith Fieldhouse for matches on Friday and Saturday night at 7 p.m. MST.
The Cougars are ranked No. 2 in the AVCA preseason poll and return junior All-American Taylor Sander and two All-Mountain Pacific Sports Federation selections in senior Russ Lavaja and sophomore Josue Rivera. Rounding out the cast of returning starters is sophomore libero Jaylen Reyes.
Coming off a 24-win season last year and a second-place tie in the MPSF, the Cougars were selected second in the MPSF Preseason Coaches’ Poll. The Warriors were chosen No. 12 after finishing 2012 with a 7-20 overall record.
The University of Hawai’i begins the season unranked in the preseason AVCA Top 15 poll for the first time in school history and will open on the road for the first time since 2007. Hawai'i returns three starters from last year's team which finished 7-20 and missed the MPSF playoffs for the first time under fourth-year head coach Charlie Wade. Among the returning starters are outside hitter JP Marks and middle blocker Nick West.
BYU leads the overall series 31-17 and has won 10 of the last 12 in the series. In Provo, the Cougars hold a commanding 18-3 advantage, which includes a current eight-match win streak. The Warriors have not won in Provo since splitting a two-match series in 2003.
Friday's match will be broadcast live on BYUtv.