PROVO, Utah – A team season-high .506 hitting percentage sailed No. 7 BYU men’s volleyball past UC San Diego in three sets (25-18, 25-17, 25-18) Friday night at the Smith Fieldhouse.
The win extends the Cougars’ home-win streak to 29 and its record to 5-2 overall, 4-1 in Mountain Pacific Sports Federation play while UCSD fell to 1-7 overall and 0-5 in conference.
“We told the guys at the start of the night that the single-most important thing for us was going to be to come out and play with energy and just play hard,” BYU head coach Chris McGown said. “I thought we were great at that.”
Six different Cougars notched at least five kills with freshman Brenden Sander registering a career-high nine. Phil Fuchs and Matt Underwood both had seven while Carson Heninger had six kills on an .857 clip. Joe Grosh had a match-high four blocks in the sweep. Robbie Sutton and Leo Durkin shared assist duties, collecting 25 and 17, respectively.
The Cougars took the first point of the match on an Underwood kill before the Tritons turned it around to lead 6-3. BYU shook the run and put together a string of its own, taking the next five points for an 8-6 lead at the first timeout.
With BYU up 10-8, a Jake Langlois kill and a Sutton service ace ignited a 6-2 run to stretch the lead to 16-10. The Cougars held the advantage, taking the first set 25-18 with a Kiril Meretev kill on an Evan Chang assist.
UCSD scored first in the second set, but BYU kept it even for the first few points before building a comfortable buffer. The Cougars jumped out to an 8-4 lead heading into the first timeout of the set, pulling away with two Hatch kills and a Triton attack error.
BYU maintained a steady lead for the rest of the set with its third-highest hitting percentage for a set this season on a .556 clip, before finishing 25-17.
To begin the third set, the Tritons took a 3-1 lead. The Cougars tied it 3-3 with a service error by UCSD and a Sander kill before taking a two-point edge with an attack error and a kill by Heninger.
UC San Diego was able to keep it close thanks to eight service errors in the set, staying within three heading into the timeout, 15-12. Out of the break and after a longer rally, BYU took a four-point lead on Phil Fuchs’ kill, but the Tritons rallied to cut the deficit to one, 16-15.
After a second timeout, Heninger came up with another kill to push the Cougars’ lead back to four at 19-15. Kills by Grosh and Price Jarman extended the advantage for BYU to 21-16. The Cougars ended the match on a 6-2 run, taking the third set 25-18.
BYU will be right back at it against UC San Diego Saturday night at 7 p.m. MST.
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