Smith Fieldhouse Provo UT 84606
Sander and Patch lead BYU to 3-0 victory over UCLA
PROVO, Utah – Taylor Sander and Ben Patch led the #1 BYU men’s volleyball team to a 3-0 (25-22, 25-15, 25-23) home victory over #6 UCLA Saturday in the Smith Fieldhouse.
“I thought we played every point with focus and with a nice emotional component,” BYU head coach Chris McGown said. “I was really proud of the way the guys came out. We played really clean volleyball and came out on fire.”
The win helps BYU improve to 7-2 overall and 6-1 in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation. UCLA falls to 8-6 overall and 4-4 in the MPSF.
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Sander led the Cougars with 11 kills, six digs and three blocks, while hitting a .667 clip. Patch finished with 10 kills and two blocks and Russ Lavaja added seven kills and three blocks. Ryan Boyce finished with 34 assists and two solo blocks.
BYU finished the match nine errors to UCLA’s 19 errors, while out-hitting the Bruins .400 - .233.
"What I liked the most about tonight was we are learning to limit our mistakes,” McGown said. “UCLA's a really good team, and they did some nice things. We didn't make the mistakes we have made earlier in the season, so I like that trend for our team."
After sitting out the last two matches due to an ankle injury, Lavaja came out hot in the beginning of set one with a kill and a block putting the Cougars up 2-0. UCLA bounced back with a few kills to tie the game at 5-5. Midway through the set, Sander led the Cougars with a series of kills giving them an 8-7 lead. The Cougars went up 16-12, following UCLA’s fifth hitting error. Despite the Cougars’ comfortable lead, UCLA cut the lead to one, 22-21, following a UCLA ace. Tied at 22, BYU finished things off 25-22 with a kill from Sander and back-to-back blocks from Boyce and Sander.
At the beginning of set two, the Cougars took an early 5-2 lead with a strong presence from Devin Young in the middle and Patch from the service line. Following one of the longest rallies of the match, Patch pounded the ball to the back corner to give the Cougars a 9-7 lead. Midway through the second set, Young and Patch exchanged sets to put the Cougars up 16-12. The Cougars widened the gap 19-12 with help from several UCLA hitting errors. Similar to the start of set one, Lavaja recorded back-to-back points giving the Cougars a 22-14 advantage. BYU closed out set two 25-14 following a UCLA service error.
BYU trailed UCLA during the start of set three until Boyce set Patch for a kill to take the lead 9-8. An ace from Lavaja helped the Cougars extend their lead to 11-9. Though the teams exchanged points through most of the set, a rallying point for the Cougars came with a solo block from Boyce putting the Cougars up 19-18. Late in the third set, Sander continued to lead the Cougars, recording a kill followed by an ace to put his team up 23-21. The Cougars closed out the set and the match 25-23 on a UCLA hitting error.
After 10 matches at home, the Cougars hit the road for the first time this season against Pepperdine and USC on Feb. 15 and 16, respectively. Both matches begin at 7 p.m. PST.
No. 1 Cougars host two MPSF opponents
No. 1 BYU (6-2, 5-1 MPSF)
No. 15 UCSB (4-7, 2-5 MPSF)
No. 6 UCLA (8-5, 4-3 MPSF)
Playing in its final weekend of its 10-match home stand, the No. 1 BYU men’s volleyball team welcomes No. 15 UCSB and No. 6 UCLA to the Smith Fieldhouse.
The Cougars take on the Gauchos on Thursday, Feb. 7, and the Bruins on Saturday, Feb. 9. Both matches begin at 7 p.m. MST.
BYU is ranked No. 1 in the American Volleyball Coaches Association for its third-straight week. The Cougars, who received eight first-place votes, share the top spot with UC Irvine (seven first-place votes). With only one conference loss, BYU is also ranked No. 1 in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation.
Last weekend, BYU dropped its second match of the season to then-No. 7 Long Beach State, 3-2. The Cougars bounced back the next night with a 3-1 win over then-No. 9 Cal State Northridge.
Junior All-American Taylor Sander leads the Cougars with 124 kills for a 4.00 average, good for sixth in the MPSF. The outside hitter has recorded double figures in kills in all eight matches. Sander is ranked No. 5 in points with 4.71 per set and No. 11 in hitting percentage with a .352 clip.
Also ranked in the MPSF is senior Russ Lavaja who is No. 3 in blocks with a 1.52 average and No. 5 in hitting percentage at .474. Junior Devin Young is also ranked in the top-15 in blocks, coming in at No. 11 with 1.13 per set. Rounding out BYU’s individual conference rankings is senior Ryan Boyce, averaging 10.31 assists for the No. 6 spot.
BYU, who is No. 1 in hitting percentage in the MPSF with a .335 clip, is also holding its opponents to the third lowest hitting mark (.223). Thanks to a collective team effort, the Cougars are ranked No. 2 in blocks with 3.24 per set. BYU is out-blocking its opponents 100.5 – 62.0.
The Cougars are fifth in both assists and kills with averages of 11.71 and 12.55, respectively.
The Gauchos take on No. 12 Cal Baptist at home Feb. 5 before their contest with the Cougars. UCSB’s previous contest was a 3-1 win over UC San Diego.
The Cougars split the 2012 series with then-No. 12 UCSB. BYU captured a 3-1 win before UCSB edged out the home team 3-2. BYU leads the overall series against UCSB 28-21 and is 16-6 at home.
UCSB has out-killed its opponents 525 – 509. Sophomore opposite Matt Marsh leads the team with 129 kills and is No. 9 in the MPSF. Averaging 4.08 points and 0.28 service aces, Marsh is No. 12 and No. 14, respectively, in the conference.
Chad Kingi holds the No. 2 spot in digs in the MPSF with an average of 2.75. Jonah Seif is ranked third with 10.83 assists per set while Dylan Davis is fourth in hitting percentage with a .488 clip. Davis is also fifth in blocks with 1.40 per set.
The Gauchos hold two top-5 MPSF team rankings. UCSB is No. 3 in digs with 9.42 per set and is No. 5 in opponent hitting percentage at .246.
The Bruins are coming off a 3-0 win over UC San Diego. UCLA heads to No. 12 Cal Baptist Feb. 7 before traveling to Provo.
BYU split the 2012 series with then-No. 3 UCLA. After taking a 3-2 win the first night, the Bruins rallied back for a 3-0 sweep. The Bruins own the overall series with a 29-23 advantage but the Cougars remain on top at home, 13-10.
Leading the Bruins is Gonzalo Quiroga with 24 total aces on the season, for a 0.55 average. The mark gives him the top spot in the MPSF individual rankings. Quiroga is also No. 9 in points per set with 4.36 and No. 11 in kills with a 3.55 average.
Evan Mottram is ranked fourth with 2.50 digs per set while Robert Page’s 3.56 kills per set is good for No. 10. With a .350 clip, Spencer Rowe is 13th in hitting percentage.
The Bruins hold one top-5 conference team ranking. UCLA is No. 1 in service aces with an average of 1.53.
Live stats for both matches will be available on the BYU men’s volleyball schedule page. You can also follow the team on Twitter @BYUvolleyball for live updates.