PROVO, Utah – Freshman Brenden Sander and junior Matt Underwood both recorded double-digit kills while leading No. 7 BYU men's volleyball to a sweep (25-18, 25-20, 25-20) over visiting Cal Baptist Saturday night.
"I thought we played a great match as a team tonight," BYU head coach Chris McGown said. "The guys know their responsibilities. They know exactly what we're asking of them. I like where we're at in conference play heading into some tough matchups against USC on the road."
On the night, Sander recorded 10 kills on 17 attempts, three digs and an ace. Underwood also tallied 10 kills while contributing a career-high seven blocks. Tyler Heap finished the match leading the Cougars in assists and digs with 28 and 7, respectively. As a team, BYU hit at a .371 clip and outplayed the Lancers at the net, recording 29 blocks to Cal Baptist’s eight.
The first set was a back-and-forth affair without a lead of more than two points until the Cougars (8-2, 7-1 Mountain Pacific Sports Federation) led 16-13 about halfway through. Kiril Meretev got the scoring started with the match’s first kill. After trading a couple points, blocks from Joseph Grosh and Underwood helped BYU grab three of four points and open up a 5-3 lead.
Cal Baptist (3-9, 1-8 MPSF) bounced back with two quick points of its own and the teams continued to trade rallies until BYU created some space. With a 14-13 lead, blocks from Heap and Sander fueled a four-point run that created all the room the Cougars needed. BYU continued to build its lead and won the set 25-18.
Sander led the Cougars in the first set with four kills on five attempts, hitting at an .800 clip. Heap and Michael Hatch both hit at 1.000 clips in the set and contributed seven assists and three blocks, respectively. Underwood also recorded three of BYU’s 11 total blocks.
BYU picked up where it left off in the second set when Heap and Hatch combined for a block to get the first point of the set. Grosh joined the block party a short time later to give BYU an 11-8 lead and force the Lancers into another timeout.
Coming out of the break, the Cougars took advantage of four Cal Baptist errors and a service ace from Sander to open up the lead to 18-13. The Lancers got a couple points back but two-straight kills from Sander opened up a 22-17 advantage and forced another timeout. BYU won the set 25-20 shortly after on a Cal Baptist service error.
Sander kept up his good play in the second set, leading the Cougars again with four kills and an ace. Heap racked up 9 assists and BYU out-blocked Cal Baptist 10-2 on the set.
In the third and final set, the Cougars and Lancers battled back-and-forth to a 10-10 tie before BYU seized control. With it all knotted up, Sander recorded an additional kill and block to fuel another 4-0 run and push the lead to 14-10. Later in the set, two attack errors from Sander allowed Cal Baptist to come within two points at 21-19 and force a Cougar timeout.
Coming out of the break, BYU made quick work of the set and match. Two errant attacks from the Lancers gave the Cougars consecutive points and a 23-19 lead, forcing a Cal Baptist timeout. After that timeout, Price Jarman recorded his third spike and gave BYU its first match point. The Cougars would win two points later, 25-20, when Sander got his final kill of the evening.
The Cougars hit the road next week for Thursday and Friday showdowns with No. 2 USC in Los Angeles. Both matches will be played at 7 p.m. PST. Links to live stats and a video feed can be found on the BYU men's volleyball schedule page.
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