Sander and No. 3 Cougars win in four at No. 1 UCLA for series sweep


LOS ANGELES – Brenden Sander led No. 3 BYU men's volleyball to a four-set (20-25, 25-20, 25-18, 25-23) win at No. 1 UCLA to complete the series sweep Saturday night at the John Wooden Center.

"The boys dug deep tonight and did some wonderful things as a collective team," BYU head coach Shawn Olmstead said. "Our serving was great and Brenden played big time. It was a great BYU crowd and we can't thank BYU fans enough for showing up and supporting us in a big way."

Sander led the Cougars with 10 kills and just one hitting error for a .450 clip to go along with a pair of aces and three blocks. Erik Sikes contributed 11 digs and Leo Durkin added 30 assists. Michael Hatch collected six blocks and Price Jarman put up a season-high eight kills to go with five blocks. Jake Langlois added 11 kills, nine digs and four aces while Ben Patch added a team-high 12 kills in the win.

UCLA (21-5, 15-5 Mountain Pacific Sports Federation) got off to a 4-1 lead over BYU (21-3, 17-3 MPSF) to start the first set with help from a pair of aces. Two Sander kills and a block then helped the Cougars get back within a point, down 5-4. The teams remained neck-to-neck from there until a 4-1 Bruin run propelled them to an 11-7 advantage, forcing a BYU timeout. The Cougars rallied after the break with a 5-1 run, capped off by a Sander and Hatch block, to tie the score at 12-all. BYU took its first lead of the set at 15-14 following a Patch kill, and the set remained tied at every point from there until another 5-1 UCLA rally gave it a 22-19 edge. The Bruins then ended the set 25-20 with an ace.  

A Patch kill gave the Cougars a 6-5 advantage early in the second set. Patch and Jarman then teamed up to get a block and keep BYU ahead with an 11-10 edge. The close set continued as a Sander kill helped his team keep the 15-14 advantage. The Bruins then took their first timeout of the set after another Sander kill extended the Cougars' lead to two at 18-16. Robbie Sutton then subbed into the match and collected an ace to keep BYU ahead 22-19, forcing a UCLA timeout. A Langlois kill ended the set for the Cougars 25-20.

BYU took an 8-2 lead to start the third set after a pair of Patch kills. A Durkin ace kept the Cougars up by six at 14-8 before back-to-back blocks helped bring the Bruins back within just three, down 14-11. UCLA came back within a point at 15-14 following an ace before back-to-back Langlois kills helped BYU go back up by four at 19-15. The Cougars maintained their lead from there as a Tim Dobbert ace ended the set 25-18.   

The two teams started out the fourth set evenly with a 3-3 score, but a Patch kill gave BYU an 8-6 advantage. Sander then picked up an ace to extend the Cougars' lead at 12-10, forcing a Bruin timeout. BYU then went up 17-13 on a Langlois ace and 20-16 on a UCLA service error. The Bruins fought off four set points before the Cougars took the set and match 25-23 on a Patch kill.

The win gives BYU the series sweep at UCLA for the first time in program history.

The Cougars return home to the Smith Fieldhouse next, facing USC in a two-match series beginning Saturday, April 8, at 7 p.m. MDT. The match will be broadcast live on BYUtv and simulcast on BYU Radio - Sirius XM 143. Links to live stats and a video feed can be found on the BYU men's volleyball schedule page.