Defense helps No. 3 BYU past Princeton in three


PRINCETON, N.J. – Strong blocking helped No. 3 BYU men's volleyball sweep past Princeton (25-22, 25-19, 25-22) Friday night.

"I'm happy for the team and a good win," BYU head coach Shawn Olmstead said. "It's nice to be back East and see the support for BYU. The fans showed up big time and we can't thank them enough."

Price Jarman contributed a match-high and career-tying nine blocks. Additionally, Leo Durkin, Brenden Sander and Michael Hatch each had five blocks in the win. Tim Dobbert had a match-high 14 kills in addition to three blocks and the team's only service ace. Durkin directed the offense with 20 assists while Erik Sikes added six digs. Jarman and Sander each added six kills while Kiril Meretev chipped in a season-high seven.

The Cougars had their highest hitting percentage of the season with a .492 clip compared to the Tigers' .271. The win is the team's fifth-straight sweep.

Three kills from Dobbert helped BYU (9-2, 6-2 Mountain Pacific Sports Federation) take an early 7-4 lead over Princeton (2-5, 2-0 Eastern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association). The Tigers scored the next three points, however, keeping the set close for the next several points. Sander's first kill of the night extended the Cougars' lead back to three at 14-11 and Princeton's fifth service error kept BYU ahead 18-14. The Tigers clawed back into the set down 22-20 on a Cougar service error, but it wasn't enough as BYU took the set 25-22 on another Dobbert kill. The Cougars finished the set with just one attack error, hitting a .625 clip. 

Both teams exchanged plenty of service errors to open up the second set. A bad BYU set gave Princeton its first two-point advantage of the night at 10-8. The Tigers led by as many as four before a 6-2 Cougar rally, capped off by a Meretev kill, knotted the score back up at 16-all. From there, back-to-back blocks by Jarman and Durkin ended a 4-1 run as BYU retook the lead 20-17. The Cougars cruised from there, taking the set 25-19 after a Princeton attack error. 

The third set started much like the second, with neither side taking a dominant lead. BYU's only ace of the night then came from Dobbert, helping it take a 7-5 edge. The score stayed tight as another Dobbert kill tied the set at 14-all. A triple block from Sander, Jarman and Robbie Sutton then helped the Cougars go up 17-15, but the Tigers came right back, tying the set at 20 apiece with a kill from Kendall Ratter. BYU led by as many as three at 23-20 before consecutive Princeton kills brought it back within a point, 23-22. Dobbert and Jarman blocked a ball to seal the set and match win though, 25-22.  

The Cougars return to action Saturday, Feb. 13, at 7:30 p.m. EST when they conclude their Eastern Time Zone road trip at NJIT. The match will be broadcast live on ESPN3. Links to live stats and the video feed can be found on the BYU men's volleyball schedule page