RIVERSIDE, Calif.—No. 4 BYU men’s volleyball swept Cal Baptist (33-31, 25-18, 25-20) Monday night to wrap up up a three-match road trip.
“I thought we had really good energy tonight,” BYU head coach Chris McGown said. “It’s been a long trip. This was our third match in four nights, so to be able to rally and have some good energy out there on the floor I thought was big.”
Taylor Sander tallied 17 kills to lead the Cougars (8-3, 8-1 MPSF), hitting .323. Sander also had two aces. Josue Rivera and Michael Hatch led in blocking with four apiece. Tyler Heap had 27 assists and Matt Underwood led with six digs.
BYU held Cal Baptist to 4.5 blocks while collecting 7.5 of its own and won the kills battle 42-35.
The Lancers began play with a 4-1 lead. Catching up 14-14, the Cougars took a 16-14 lead to end a four-point scoring streak and launched a round of back-and-forth play. After a series of four lead changes, BYU pulled ahead on a Carson Heninger kill 23-22.
Cal Baptist kept the Cougars from ending the set, tying the score at 23, 24, 25 and 26 before taking the lead on an ace. BYU tied the score four more times before Heap took the lead 31-30 on his own ace. A Lancer attack error gave the set to the Cougars 33-31, BYU’s longest set of the season so far.
The Cougars started the second set strong, going up 8-3. Sander’s 10th kill of the night put BYU ahead 15-10, and the Cougars never looked back. BYU increased its lead to 22-16 on an Underwood kill and took the set 25-18 on an error.
BYU took a 7-5 lead in the third frame, but Cal Baptist came back to tie and take the lead on a 4-0 run. Devin Young shut down the run on a kill from Robbie Sutton. BYU tied the score 11-11 with an attack error and went ahead 12-11 on another. Clinging to a narrow lead down the stretch, an Underwood and Hatch block put the score at 22-19 for the Cougars, launching a 4-1 scoring streak. Two Sander kills highlighted the run that wrapped up the 25-20 set and the match.
“We didn’t execute quite as well as we would have liked,” McGown said. “I thought our service errors and attack errors were a little high. But we got some nice contributions from some other guys that came off the bench and played hard. I thought we had a nice game plan against them, and we executed it pretty well.”
BYU takes a break for the next 10 days before facing Pacific on the road Feb. 14.
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