Smith Fieldhouse Provo UT 84606
PROVO, Utah – Coming off an emotional victory over No. 1 UC Irvine on Friday night, the No. 3 BYU men’s volleyball team continued its winning ways, defeating No. 13 UC San Diego 3-0 (25-15, 25-19, 25-23) on Saturday night as Taylor Sander became BYU's service ace leader in the modern rally era.
"I was impressed with the way we came out," head coach Chris McGown said. "I thought the potential for some flat emotion was there and we didn't in any way give in to that. I thought the guys came out emotionally charged. Every point was big for them.”
With the victory, BYU improves to 5-1 on the season and 4-0 in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation. UC San Diego falls to 3-4 and 2-2 in the MPSF.
"Every win in the conference this year is going to be huge and for us to have four right now is great after having played four of them," McGown said.
Sander led the Cougars early in the first set, assisting in a block for BYU’s first point and later converting a kill to put the Cougars up 5-1. BYU and UC San Diego traded points back and forth as the Tritons failed to find their groove behind the service line, hitting three straight service errors to extend BYU’s lead to 8-5. A Carl Eberts kill brought UC San Diego within four of BYU down 13-9, before BYU began to pull away. Josue Rivera put BYU up 17-11 with a big kill and later extended the Cougars lead to 23-14 with a solid kill down the center gap. The Cougars closed out the set 25-15 with an assist from Boyce and kill by Devin Young.
BYU continued its strong play in the second set, going up 8-2 after a block by Young and Sander. A strong kill by Mike Brunsting brought the Tritons within four, down 9-5 before the Cougars extended their lead to 12-6 after a Ben Patch kill. Down the stretch, Sander stole the show converting three straight points for the Cougars. Sander finished off an assist from Ryan Boyce with a solid kill to put the Cougars up 17-11. On the next play, Sander found a gap from the service line, breaking the BYU ace record to become No. 1 in the rally era, before finishing off another ace to put BYU up 19-11. UC San Diego battled to within six, down 22-16, after a kill from Vaun Lennon, but couldn’t complete a comeback. Sander scored the Cougars final two points, finishing off the second set 25-19 with a kill assisted by Boyce.
Lavaja and Boyce gave BYU its first point of the the third set with a strong block before UC San Diego pulled away with a kill and two straight blocks to go up 3-1. Down 6-4, BYU went on a 5-0 run aided by two Young blocks. In the middle of the set, a Patch kill extended the Cougars lead to 13-8, before the Tritons went on a 7-2 run capped by an error by Lavaja to tie the match at 15. BYU battled back with a 5-0 run of its own, fueled by two kills from Sander to put the Cougars up 20-15. The Tritons were able to pull within one, down 24-23, before BYU put the set and match away, 25-23, with a kill by Lavaja.
The Cougars return to action on Friday Feb. 1 against Long Beach State. The match begins at 7 p.m. MST in the Smith Fieldhouse and will be broadcast live on BYUtv.
PROVO, Utah – Continuing its stay at home, No. 3 BYU men’s volleyball hosts No. 1 UC Irvine in a conference showdown on Friday before taking on No. 13 UC San Diego on Saturday.
Both matches kick off at 7 p.m. MST at the Smith Fieldhouse. Friday’s match will be broadcast on BYUtv.
The Cougars (3-1, 2-0 MPSF) suffered their first loss of the season to then-No. 13 Lewis, splitting a two-match series with the Flyers. After dropping the first match 3-2, BYU bounced back to a quick 3-0 victory the next night.
In Friday’s loss to Lewis, All-American junior Taylor Sander dished out four aces to propel him to a first place tie in BYU career service aces with 91. Sander needs one more to hold the record outright. Sander also moved past 1,000 career points. The outside hitter has recorded double-figures in kills in all four matches this season.
Freshman Ben Patch led the Cougars in Saturday’s win, hitting a .800 clip, the fifth-best mark for a single match in BYU history. The Provo native had 12 kills on 15 attempts and no errors. As a team, BYU recorded the fifth-best hitting percentage in a match (.525).
The team is ranked No. 2 in hitting percentage (.348) and No. 3 in opponent hitting percentage (.198) in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation. Lavaja is fourth in blocks (24) while Sander is ranked fifth in both points and kills (58).
BYU leads the series with UC Irvine (4-1, 1-1 MPSF) 39-12 and holds a 20-4 home record. BYU took the 2012 meeting, 3-2. The Cougars' last loss came in 2009 at home.
The Anteaters split a pair of 3-0 outcomes in conference home matches last weekend, defeating Pepperdine and falling to USC. UC Irvine hit a collective .405 against the Waves. Sophomore Zack La Cavera recorded 16 kills at .577 and junior Scott Kevorken was 7-for-8 with a .750 clip.
Junior Collin Mehring is ranked fifth in the MPSF in hitting percentage (.500) while Kevorken is in the eighth spot (.450). Mehring also holds the fifth best mark in blocks with 1.5 per set. Senior Chris Austin has 9.94 assists per set for the eighth ranking. La Cavera is seventh in kills (3.69) and tenth in service aces (0.44).
Sophomore Michael Brinkley holds the No. 1 spot for UCI in digs posting 3.18 per set. As a team, the Anteaters are No. 3 in the MPSF in blocks (3.24) and No. 4 in kills (12.88) and service aces (1.35)
UCI takes on Cal Baptist before traveling to Provo.
UC San Diego
The Cougars have never lost to the Tritons (2-3, 1-1 MPSF), holding a 32-0 series record. BYU won in the 2012 meeting, 3-2.
UC San Diego split a pair of 3-0 sweeps at home, upsetting USC before falling to Pepperdine. The win marked the first for the Tritons over the Trojans since the 2009 season, a span of seven matches. Carl Eberts recorded a match-high16 kills with a .414 clip, along with nine digs and five blocks.
Senior Chase Frishman holds the lone Triton individual ranking among the MPSF leaders with 2.33 digs for a seventh place spot. UC San Diego does not hold any top-5 MPSF team rankings.
The Tritons host Cal Baptist Thursday before traveling to BYU.
Student-athletes will be present at the match on Saturday with bins to collect T-shirts for the annual West Coast Conference T-shirt drive. The T-shirts will be donated to underprivileged people around the world through the non-profit group Clothes4Souls. For more information visit the release.