With the win, the Cougars improved to 8-3 in what was game one of two for hosting the Sharks this week. The first and second sets proved tight, with BYU seizing an early final set lead that held steady throughout.
BYU outhit the Sharks .247 to .230 on the night while totaling 39 kills, 35 assists, 23 digs and five blocks. Senior Kupono Browne tied his season-high of four service aces as Trent Moser led the team in kills with 10 on a .476 hitting percentage to go along with three digs.
Freshman middle blocker Caleb Sorenson made his first career appearance, recording his first kill and sealing the contest for the Cougars with a match-point service ace in the third set. Setter Tyler Herget racked up a match-high 32 assists and middle blocker Teon Taylor recorded a team-high five blocks.
BYU outmatched the Sharks (3-7) with six service aces, holding Long Island to just one.
The game seesawed back and forth on every point early as the score was knotted at 6-6. A spike by Herget found the floor after a blocking error was committed by the Sharks, making it 8-6 for the Cougars.
Long Island quickly earned two kills to make it 8-8 before Luke Benson soared high for a slam off the assist from Herget. Later, a Long Island serve ricocheted off the net, causing BYU's defense to scramble as the score became 11-11 with the first ace of the night.
Miks Ramanis and Benson carded kills to make it 15-13 for BYU entering the first media timeout. With a 16-14 lead, the Sharks countered with four straight, kicking off the run with a quick termination after surviving a strong serve to the baseline by Browne.
Following a BYU timeout, Benson hit a slide kill to begin a 3-0 Cougar run to reclaim a 19-18 lead. Long Island seized the lead again at 20-19 before Benson recorded a weak side kill down the line.
With the Cougars up 22-21, Gavin Julien punished a Shark floater with an authoritative overpass kill at the center. BYU claimed the set point to win 25-23 after a Long Island attack error.
Three BYU errors helped the Sharks take their biggest lead of the night at 5-1, but the Cougars responded with an immediate 6-2 run. The stretch included two aces and two kills from Browne in addition to a pair of kills from Moser.
An LIU attack error put BYU up 9-7. Later, with the point in doubt, Jackson Fife extended wide for a dig to keep things alive and force a kill by Julien to make it 10-8.
Off a Herget assist, Ramanis hit a slam followed by a Shark service error to keep the lead at 12-9. Up 13-11, Moser’s strategic tip kill to his left kept the Sharks at bay. Things stayed close, as three straight service errors between both teams made it 16-14 for the Cougars. Ramanis then evaded the reach of three would-be blockers to hit the ball high enough to his right for a kill.
Later, Teon Taylor curbed a soaring Shark spike for a solo block to put BYU up 18-16. The Cougars then went up 20-17 off a Long Island error.
With the score at 21-19, Browne nailed a weak side cross-court kill to take a three-point advantage. The Sharks responded with a quick kill of their own before Moser carded a slam. The Cougars would go on to win the set 25-22 after a Sharks service error.
The Cougars began the third set in dominant fashion, first going up 3-0 after a double block by Taylor and Browne went unreturned. The teams traded service errors before BYU opened a 6-1 advantage on a cross-court slam by Moser. The point went long, seeing the ball roll for a split-second on the net before BYU scored.
With the Cougars up 7-1, Moser and Browne skied high for kills. Later, Moser notched an ace that bounced off the net, putting BYU up 11-2 for the Cougars' largest lead of the night.
The Sharks rattled off three straight to make it 11-5. Two Long Island errors combined with a kill by Ramanis made it 14-6.
The Sharks would cut the lead to 17-13 off three Cougar errors and four kills. A service error then put the Cougars up five at 18-13. Following a BYU service error, the Sharks gifted it right back with a serve that sailed long as BYU went up 19-14.
Browne nailed another ace, placing it perfectly in the corner before Jared Brady won a spar at the net to go up 22-14 in his first kill on the year. Sorenson then registered his first career kill to go up 23-15. At set point, BYU won on an ace from Sorenson.
BYU will host the Sharks again on Saturday, February 10 at 7 p.m. MST at the Smith Fieldhouse. The match will be televised on BYUtv and byutv.org.