The service line was the story of the first set for both teams. Herget started the set off strong for BYU with an ace and proceeded to a second midway through. The set remained tight in the early-going as both teams traded service errors to an 8-6 BYU lead.
Ramanis then arrived on the scene with the first of his three aces on the set. The Ramanis ace sparked BYU’s attack and helped the Cougars roll to a set-high lead of eight at 21-13. BYU built the lead with a pair of kills from Moser, consecutive kills by Gant and Browne as well as two LIU service errors. Ramanis effectively sealed the set with a personal 3-0 run as he notched a kill and two aces consecutively.
Three late kills brought the Sharks within six but a block from the firm of Moser, Gant and Herget along with a closing Ramanis kill, delivered set one to the Cougars 25-18.
BYU hit at a clip of .294 in the set while scoring 10 kills. The Sharks were held to .188 hitting with six kills, five service errors and an absence of aces to the Cougars’ five.
Teon Taylor set the tone for BYU to start the second with a solo block and kill that took the Cougars to a quick 4-2 lead. An ace and kill from Browne extended BYU’s lead to 8-4. Browne then scored three-straight for BYU with two more kills and another ace that pushed BYU to a 15-9 advantage.
A string of Cougar service and attack errors appeared to help LIU climb back into the set before BYU regrouped with scores on two kills and a block. Jon Stanley took the floor and quickly recorded a kill and his first-career solo block as the Cougars extended their lead to 20-13. LIU put up four more kills before set’s end but Cougar kills courtesy Browne and Ramanis gave BYU another 25-18 win.
The Cougars hit .333 for the set with 12 kills and just two attacking errors. Browne and Ramanis led BYU with five and three kills, respectively. LIU posted 11 kills, four attacking errors and five service errors while hitting at .280.
LIU took a 5-3 lead early in the third set, its first since the opening moments of the match. Browne led BYU’s response as he scored a kill and ace consecutively to tie the set at five. Much of the match continued closely contested with 10 ties and nine lead changes taking BYU to a 16-15 lead.
Defense helped BYU get in front for good as Ramanis, Taylor and Herget found some match-ending momentum with a combined block that put the Cougars up 17-15. A kill from Ramanis and Herget ace gave BYU more breathing room before three-straight kills form Browne put match’s end in sight at 22-19. Two kills from Stanley and a block from Ramanis, Gant and Herget closed the door on the Sharks 25-21.
The Cougars closed the match hitting .333 with 13 kills while allowing 13 from the Sharks on .214 hitting.
BYU continues its 10-match home stand as it opens MPSF play in two matches versus Grand Canyon University at 7 p.m. MST on Feb. 16-17. Watch both matches live on BYUtv.