Browne's career-high 26 kills guide BYU through five-set win over No. 7 Stanford

No. 6 BYU men’s volleyball defeated No. 7 Stanford in a five-set thriller (25-13, 16-25, 23-25, 25-23, 18-16) in a conference matchup on Friday evening at Maples Pavilion.

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STANFORD, Calif. — No. 6 BYU men’s volleyball defeated No. 7 Stanford in a five-set thriller (25-13, 16-25, 23-25, 25-23, 18-16) in a conference matchup on Friday evening at Maples Pavilion.

BYU's 3-2 victory was guided by opposite Kupono Browne who finished with a career-high and match-high of 26 kills, including two aces and five digs on the night. Browne was one of three Cougars to record double-digit kills tonight, with Luke Benson knocking down 13 kills and Miks Ramanis collecting 12 kills.

BYU (11-6, 2-3) also accomplsihed a team season-high of 64 kills on a .322 hitting percentage while holding Stanford to a .285 clip. 

Set One

Following a Stanford attack error in the opening point, an ace by Herget gave BYU a quick 2-0 lead. The Cougars would then go on a 4-0 run, including two kills by Benson and another by Browne, taking the score to 7-2. Browne then recorded his first ace of the night, forcing a Stanford timeout when trailing four points behind BYU at 10-4.

The Cougars were cruising and found themselves ahead by 12 points at 19-6 after going on a 7-0 run which featured kills by Taylor, Julien and Ramanis, with an ace by Ian Little off the bench as well. Ramanis then earned his fourth kill of the night after he was dished a one-handed set by setter Herget to go ahead 22-7. Another kill from Browne finished off BYU's dominant 25-13 opening set and gave the Cougars a 1-0 edge in the match. 

Set Two

Stanford turned the momentum around in the second set, establishing a 6-1 lead after back-to-back aces by setter Nathan Lietzke. BYU halted Stanford’s 6-0 run with a kill by Benson for a 7-2 score. The Cougars would then cut Stanford’s lead down to three courtesy of back-to-back kills by Browne, forcing a Cardinal timeout at 12-9.

Stanford found its largest lead of the set to that point at 21-14 after back-to-back kills, and would later gain another seven-point lead at 23-16. The Cardinal were then able to close the set at 25-16, evening the match at 1-1 and holding BYU to its lowest set score of the season. Lewis is the only other team to do the same in 2024, defeating BYU 25-16 in set one on Jan. 13.

Set Three

Battling back from its set two defeat, the Cougars gained a 3-1 lead in the third frame after two kills by Ramanis. After trading points to start the set, the score squared at 12 and 13. A kill by Browne paired with a Stanford attack error gave BYU a 15-13 lead. 

With the score leveled again at 17-17, BYU looked to ice Stanford’s 3-0 run and burned a timeout. Jon Stanley recorded his first kill of the night at 20-19, with BYU still down by one. Stanley then stepped up to serve for the Cougars at 21-20, and helped BYU even the score at 21s after a Stanford attack error.

A kill by Benson knotted the score again at 23 until the Cardinal's Will Rottman pulled off a double play, a kill and an ace, to finish off set two at 25-23. Stanford left the third set with a 2-1 match lead. 

Set Four

Browne gave BYU its first two points in the next set with a pair of kills, making the score 4-2 when down two early in the fourth frame. Ties later occurred at points five, six and seven until Stanford found a way to secure a three-point edge, leading 10-7 after a Cardinal ace. BYU would call a timeout when down four points at 12-8 for Stanford’s largest lead of the set.

The Cougars subbed in setter Noa Haine when down five at 17-12 who then assisted Julien on a kill to cut Stanford’s 4-0 run at 18-13. BYU would earn the next two points, headlined by Ramanis’ ninth kill, forcing a Stanford timeout at 18-15.

When down four points at 20-16, the Cougars mustered enough strength to cut Stanford’s lead to one at 20-21 after a block by Taylor. Stanley’s second kill of the night evened the score at 22, and Browne gave BYU a 23-22 lead with a kill. Browne then took to the service line and recorded his second ace of the night to deliver the set to BYU 25-23 and push the match into a fifth. 

Set Five

Kills by Ramanis and Browne gave BYU a 2-1 lead early in the fifth set. Another kill by Browne gave the Cougars a 5-4 lead, and Browne a new career-high in kills with his 23rd of the night. Browne then fired off another kill, allowing BYU to lead at 8-7.

After the teams switched sides, a BYU service error tied the set at eight. Four consecutive service errors from either side took the score to 10-9 in favor of the Cougars. A solo block by Julien and a kill by Browne gave BYU a 12-11 lead, forcing a Stanford timeout.

Rottman then served the ball into the net, giving BYU a 13-12 edge. Another Stanford service error gave BYU match point, but a kill and ace by Stanford's Moses Wagner kept the Cougars on their toes. There would be three more match points until a block by Taylor and kill by Ramanis concluded the match at 18-16, securing BYU its 3-2 victory.

Up Next

The Cougars will face Stanford once more on Saturday, March 9 at 6 p.m. PST, with live coverage on the Pac-12 Network.