Top-ranked Cougars fall in five sets to No. 11 Stanford


PROVO, Utah – Despite 20 kills from Ben Patch, No. 1 BYU men’s volleyball fell in a five-set heartbreaker to No. 11 Stanford Friday night at the Smith Fieldhouse.

“There were good moments for us, but we did not play well when we needed to play well and that's the bottom line,” BYU head coach Shawn Olmstead said. “We let them off the hook and face up they were better than us tonight so hats off to them."

Top-ranked BYU (2-1, 0-1 Mountain Pacific Sports Federation) outhit Stanford (3-0, 1-0 MPSF) with a .326 clip and the Cougars also recorded 12.5 blocks and 31 digs on the night.

Patch hit at a .318 clip and had four blocks on the night while both Jake Langlois and Brenden Sander added 11 kills each. Michael Hatch led BYU with seven blocks while Leo Durkin recorded 47 assists for the Cougars. Erik Sikes added eight digs for the match.

BYU jumped out to a 4-1 lead in the fifth set after kills by Patch and Price Jarman. The Cardinal rallied with three-straight points to tie the score before a service error gave BYU a 5-4 lead. A block by Hatch and Patch kept BYU in control with an 8-6 edge as the teams switched sides. Stanford fought back to tie the score at eight and the teams traded points until a 3-0 spurt gave Stanford a 13-10 lead. Following a BYU timeout, Langlois recorded a kill to help the Cougars pull within one but the Cardinal responded with a kill and a block to win the set and match 15-11.

The Cougars opened the first set with a 4-1 lead after a block by Patch and Hatch. BYU pushed the lead to 9-5 after three service errors by Stanford. The Cardinal recovered with a 7-1 run to take a 12-10 lead before Patch had a kill to regain the serve for the Cougars. With the teams deadlocked at 14, Stanford put together a 4-0 rally, forcing the Cougars to take their second timeout of the set. Out of the break, the Cardinal had a 4-1 run to make the score 23-16 and held on to win the set 25-18.

BYU responded in the second set jumping out again to a 4-1 lead with Patch recording two kills. With the Cougars leading 7-5, Langlois collected an ace to keep the momentum in favor of BYU. Leading up to the media timeout, BYU built a 15-11 lead with kills from Sander and Hatch. BYU then went on a 6-1 run capped by a block from Sander, Jarman and Durkin before Stanford was forced to take a timeout trailing 21-14. BYU maintained the lead and won the set 25-19 following a service error by Stanford.

In the third set, the Cougars established a 3-1 advantage before Stanford scored five unanswered points to force an early BYU timeout. Following the break, Langlois and Hatch combined for a block to bring their team back within a pair, down 6-4. Stanford committed back-to-back errors and a kill by Patch helped BYU tie the score at 11. The Cougars regained the lead after another Stanford error and went ahead 15-13 before Stanford called its first timeout of the set. An ace by Dobbert and back-to-back Cougar blocks took the score to 19-16 in favor of BYU, forcing the Cardinal to take its final timeout. The Cougars then went on a 4-1 run to brinig up set point, 24-19. Stanford battled off four consecutive set points before Sander recorded a kill to win the close set 25-23.

Down 5-2 at the beginning of the fourth set, BYU made a 4-1 run by to tie the score at six apiece. The teams traded points through the next few rallies with Patch, Sander and Hatch each contributing kills. A kill by Jarman gave BYU a 15-14 lead at the media timeout as the teams continued to battle for the upper hand. Trailing 22-21, BYU strung together several digs before Langlois won the lengthy rally for the Cougars to tie the score at 22-all. A service error gave Stanford the lead before Sander smashed a kill to maintain the deadlock at 23. BYU again failed to convert on the serve and Stanford recorded another kill to win the set 25-23 and take the match to a decisive fifth set.  

BYU will play Stanford again tomorrow night at 7 p.m. MST at the Smith Fieldhouse. The game will be broadcast on BYUtv and live stats will be available on the BYU men's volleyball schedule page.