PROVO, Utah — Middle blocker Teon Taylor absorbed nine blocks as No. 8 BYU men’s volleyball held No. 7 Pepperdine to a season-low clip of .218 in a thrilling 3-2 (22-25, 25-16, 25-21, 23-25, 15-13) win at the Smith Fieldhouse on Saturday night, extending BYU's undefeated home streak to 10-0.
"I'm proud of the team for sticking in it all night," said head coach Shawn Olmstead. "Our players did a really good job of getting their hands in the way. That type of defense helped us disrupt Pepperdine. Even the first play of the game was a stuff block. Credit to our players who battled tonight through all five sets."
The Waves (14-10) entered the weekend ranked No. 2 nationally with 13.2 kills per set. BYU (15-6) held them to 11 on Saturday as Taylor helped the Cougars exceed their average with three blocks per set.
Trent Moser complemented Taylor’s defensive efforts with eight blocks of his own. Moser also added 14 kills and six digs. Miks Ramanis added another 16 kills while hitting a clip of .353. Kupono Browne registered a team-high three aces, hitting .320 and totaling 11 kills.
The Cougars and Waves began the match in a back-and-forth battle with both teams hitting above a .300. Neither team was able to build a lead of more than two before the Waves notched a kill to take a 23-21 lead and finished off the set with a 25-22 win.
BYU and Pepperdine recorded 12 kills a-piece but BYU was unable to get out of its own way, hitting .188 with 13 errors, seven of which came from the service line. Trent Moser powered the BYU attack with six kills while hitting at a clip of .500. The first set was also tied as many as 12 times.
BYU opened up a 5-2 lead to start the second set with the match’s first ace from Ramanis followed by a block at the hands of Taylor and Moser. The Cougars fought back the Waves to go up 10-6 after kills from Browne and Ramanis as well as a costly Pepperdine service error.
BYU took a match-high seven-point lead at 22-15 following a Waves error and another kill from Ramanis. Two more kills, one from Ramanis and another from Browne helped the Cougars take the set 25-16.
BYU's .562 hitting percentage outdid Pepperdine's .115. The Waves accumulated seven attacking errors on the set to BYU's none.
A trio of BYU errors kept the score close to open the set and helped Pepperdine build and hold a set-high lead of 17-14. The Cougars climbed back into the fight as kills from Ramanis and Browne along with a Browne-Taylor-Moser block gave BYU its first lead since 11-10 at 19-18.
BYU captured momentum and went on to win the set after a 4-0 run with Browne and Julien kills, an ace from Browne and block courtesy of Julien and Hughes. One more kill from Ramanis capped off the set with a 25-21 Cougar win.
The Waves held a narrow 14-13 edge in kills on the set, but countered that with six attacking errors to BYU’s three. The Cougars outhit Pepperdine at .312 to .250. Ramanis led BYU with six kills while Moser and Browne added three each.
BYU and Pepperdine were locked in a one-score battle for much of the set before the Waves built momentum off an ace and rattled off six kills to end the set. Three errors didn’t help BYU’s cause either as the Cougars fell 25-23 to send the match to a fifth.
Despite five attacking errors, the Waves posted 14 kills and hit at a clip of .346 to overcome BYU’s 11 kills and .250 hitting percentage. Browne led BYU with six kills while Ramanis added three.
The Cougars opened the final set with Browne battering the ball down the middle for an ace. Taylor came up big for BYU halfway through the set with a kill and solo block consecutively followed moments later by a kill to put the Cougars up 9-7.
Julien was next to step up as he recorded back-to-back kills to keep the Waves in check at 13-12. Jon Stanley then entered the game and came up with an ace right away, giving BYU a match point. Ramanis finished off the match with a kill and gave the Cougars the 15-13 victory.
BYU hit .545 with eight kills to just two attacking errors. Moser, Julien, Taylor and Ramanis each contributed two kills to the Cougars’ cause. Taylor led BYU in shutting down the Waves attack to the tune of hitting .000.
BYU continues its eight-match home stand with two outings versus USC on the docket at the Smith Fieldhouse March 30-31. Watch the Cougars take on the Trojans in both matches at 7 p.m. MST on BYUtv/BYUtv app/BYUtv.org.