LA JOLLA, Calif. – Senior outside hitter Brenden Sander and No. 7 BYU men’s volleyball topped UC San Diego in four sets (18-25, 25-19, 25-22, 25-16) Thursday night at RIMAC Arena.
“We had a few key guys carry us through the first part of the match,” BYU head coach Shawn Olmstead said. “Brenden did a phenomenal job leading the group, and we followed his lead. We were happy with our service pressure tonight.”
Sander led the Cougars with 15 kills on a .419 clip to go with a career-high 11 digs for just his second-career double-double. Leo Durkin set the team with 46 assists and Gabi Garcia Fernandez had 11 kills, eight digs and six blocks. Price Jarman collected seven blocks in the win.
Four-straight BYU (7-4) attack errors helped UC San Diego (7-4) take an 8-4 lead early in the first set. The Tritons led by as many as five at 11-6 following a block, but a pair of kills by Miki Jauhiainen kept the Cougars in the set, down 11-8. UC San Diego then followed with a 6-0 run to go back up 17-8. BYU came back within four after a kill by Jarman, but the Tritons cruised through to the end of the set, winning 25-18.
The Cougars took a 3-0 lead to start the second set after kills by Sander and Jauhiainen. UC San Diego evened the score, however, at 7-all following a service ace. BYU went on a 4-1 run to go up 14-12, forcing a timeout from the Tritons. UC San Diego then responded by scoring five of the next six points to take a 17-15 advantage. With Sander at the service line, the Cougars scored five-straight points to go up 20-17, and BYU continued to dominate from there, taking the set 25-19.
The Tritons jumped out to a 6-3 lead in the third set, but the Cougars evened things up at 10 apiece. UC San Diego then capitalized off of several BYU errors to take a 16-11 advantage, forcing a Cougar timeout. The Cougars then rallied with multiple kills from Fernandez to tie the set at 17-all. BYU led at 21-20 following a block by Christian Rupert and Durkin, and a kill and pair of blocks from Sander ended the set 25-22.
The Cougars took a 7-3 lead on a Sander kill and stayed ahead 14-8 following a Storm Fa’agata-Tufuga kill and ace. Another Sander kill made it 18-12 before BYU cruised to a 25-16 victory, winning the set and match.
The Cougars stay on the road next, beginning Mountain Pacific Sports Federation play at No. 14 USC Saturday, Feb. 10, at 7 p.m. PST at the Galen Center. There will be an audio stream as well as live stats available on the BYU men’s volleyball schedule page.