18111 Nordhoff Street Northridge CA 91330
NORTHRIDGE, Calif. – Ben Patch and Taylor Sander combined for 34 of the Cougars’ 44 kills to lead the No. 1 BYU men’s volleyball team to a sweep at No. 9 Cal State Northridge (25-20, 25-22, 25-21) Friday.
Patch led the Cougars (16-3, 15-2 MPSF) with 18 kills and a .483 attack while adding four blocks. Sander joined Patch in double-digit kills with 16 and a .400 clip. Sander tacked on an ace, nine digs and a solo block.
“I thought we did a really nice job offensively,” BYU head coach Chris McGown said. “After a long lay off you’re curious to see how the guys will respond in a match because we haven’t played in a while. We did a nice job defending some of the things they did tonight.”
The teams were locked in a tie at the start of the first set. Down 11-12, the Cougars scored three straight to take the first two-point lead in the set. After a long rally, Patch pushed BYU ahead 21-18 with a kill down the middle. Back-to-back Cougar points positioned BYU at set point and a kill from Josue Rivera finished it off, 25-20.
The Cougars out hit the Matadors (10-9, 8-9 MPSF) .440 - .056 in the first set while Patch recorded eight kills on nine attempts with no errors.
Set two started in similar fashion with a 6-6 tie before BYU broke out of the exchange with two points from Ryan Boyce. The Cougars extended their lead to 13-8 after a pair of kills from Jaylen Reyes and Northridge errors. The Matadors stayed with the Cougars and went on a 3-0 run to cut into the BYU advantage, 19-17. Kills from Patch and Sander ended the streak but a 4-0 Matador run tied the contest. BYU responded with three unanswered points followed by a kill from Sander to end the set, 25-22.
Northridge took a 10-8 lead in the third set and maintained the advantage to move in front 18-15. An error by the Matadors and a BYU block put the Cougars back within one. Sander tied the game at 18 and 19 until a kill from Andrew Heap gave BYU its first lead since the initial points of the set. In front 22-21, the Cougars wrapped up the night with the last three points. Patch secured the match victory with a kill to take the third and final set 25-21.
“It was uncharacteristic of this team to miss so many serves but we shrugged that off and came back and kept on playing,” McGown said. “That's been the identity of this team; keep working hard and keep playing and doing what we do and good things are going to happen. We exemplified that tonight.”
The Cougars continue their stay in California with a Saturday matchup with No. 4 Long Beach State at 7 p.m. PDT.
No. 1 BYU (15-3, 14-2 MPSF)
T-No. 9 Cal State Northridge (10-8, 8-8 MPSF)
No. 4 Long Beach State (16-6, 12-5 MPSF)
PROVO, Utah – The top-ranked BYU men’s volleyball team is back in action after a week off, traveling to take on No. 9 Cal State Northridge Friday and No. 4 Long Beach State Saturday at 7 p.m. PDT both nights.
The Cougars have held the No. 1 spot in the American Volleyball Coaches Association poll for three straight weeks. BYU is also atop the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation standings, leading the next closest team by three matches.
The team is No. 1 in the MPSF in hitting percentage with a .322 attack and No. 1 in opponent hitting percentage, holding teams to a .241 clip.
Freshman Michael Hatch is first in the conference in blocks per set with 1.47. Junior Taylor Sander has the fourth-best service aces average at .41 while senior Russ Lavaja’s .485 hitting percentage is good for No. 4.
The Cougars are riding a seven-match win streak dating back to a 3-1 win over USC Feb. 16.
Cal State Northridge
Drew Staker leads the Matadors and the MPSF with a .508 hitting percentage.
Cal State Northridge is coming off back-to-back losses to UCSB, 3-1, and UCLA, 3-2. Against the Bruins, John Baker had 15 kills and Drew Staker hit .600 (10-1-15).
In the teams’ last meeting, BYU grabbed a 3-1 decision over Cal State Northridge Feb. 2 in Provo. The Cougars lead the overall series with the Matadors, 30-22.
Cal State Northridge hosts Cal Baptist Wednesday before welcoming BYU Friday in its home finale.
Long Beach State
Taylor Crabb leads Long Beach State and the MPSF with a 4.36 kills average and is third in points per set with 4.91.
Taylor Gregory has the third-best blocks average in the conference with 1.37 and Connor Olbright is third in assists with 10.82 per set.
As a team, the 49ers are No. 1 in digs in the MPSF with a 9.61 average.
Long Beach State started last week off with a loss to UCLA 3-2 before going on to defeat George Mason, 3-2, and IPFW, 3-0, in the Active Ankle Classic it hosted. Crabb had 18 kills in the sweep after a 21-kill night in the UCLA match.
The 49ers came away with the 3-2 win against BYU in Provo Feb. 1, but the Cougars hold the advantage in the overall series, 24-20.
Long Beach State takes on Cal Baptist Thursday before its matchup with BYU on Saturday.