PROVO, Utah – A career hitting night from Joseph Grosh led BYU men’s volleyball to a 3-1 win (23-25, 25-18, 25-10, 25-15) over Cal Baptist at the Smith Fieldhouse Friday night.
“I was really happy with the energy and the effort," BYU head coach Chris McGown said. "We didn't play poorly in the first set, they just had a few really tough swings and everything went their way. I just told the guys that some things would start going our way if we kept up the energy. We got a little more dialed in on how we wanted to defend and it turned out well. A lot of guys came in ready to play. We have a few key guys who are hurt, so for subs to come in and play great is really good to see."
Grosh is now fifth place in single-match hitting percentage in the rally-scoring era with a blistering .800 clip. He had 12 kills out of 15 attempts, along with five blocks to lead the team. Two other players had double-digit kills. Brenden Sander had 11 kills, six digs and three blocks after starting the second set and playing the rest of the match. Matt Underwood had 10 kills and four blocks. In his first game back from an injury, Josue Rivera had nine kills and six digs.
The Cougars (7-2, 6-1 Mountain Pacific Sports Federation) got the match going against the Lancers (3-8, 1-7 MPSF) by scoring their first point off of a triple block. An ace from Michael Hatch and back-to-back kills from Rivera gave BYU a 3-0 rally and pushed the lead to 6-4. The two teams traded points for most of the set, neither going on long runs. Grosh worked the quick set out of the middle, killing the ball five times in the first set with that play. His quick hit to the left corner gave the Cougars the 18-16 lead over the Lancers. Cal Baptist would eventually take the first set after a back-row attack error by Rivera.
Sander scored the first three points of the second set for BYU, two kills and one block, to take the early 3-1 lead. Two kills from Rivera led the Cougars on a 4-0 run, pushing the lead to 6-2 over the Lancers. An ace from Rocky DeLoyn led Cal Baptist on a 3-0 run before Grosh got another kill from a quick set in the middle to make it 9-7, BYU’s lead. Sander scored four of the last six points for the Cougars, three kills and one ace, to lead the team to a 25-18 win in the second set over the Lancers.
BYU started off the third set strong, going on a 6-0 run early to take the 9-3 lead that saw two stuff blocks from Grosh and Underwood. Another block from Underwood and Hatch capped off a 5-0 run to push to lead to 10 points, 15-5, over Cal Baptist. As a team, BYU had four blocks in the third set. Sander served an ace to continue to extend the lead to 18-8. Two quick-set kills in a row from Grosh finished off the Lancers 25-10.
The fourth set began with a stuff block from Cal Baptist, but BYU answered right back with a block of its own to tie it 1-1. The Cougars then went on a 5-0 run that saw kills from Underwood, Rivera and Sander, leading to a 6-2 lead early in the set. Price Jarman came in and earned two quick kills from the middle to push BYU’s lead to 14-9. Jarman and Sander combined for a stuff block on the right side to extend the lead to 18-12 and force the Lancers to call timeout. From the back row, Sander tooled the block to win the final set 25-15.
BYU and Cal Baptist will face off again Saturday night at 7 p.m. MST in the Smith Fieldhouse. The game will be broadcast live on BYUtv and BYU Radio – Sirius XM 143. Live stats will be available on the BYU men’s volleyball schedule page.