“They were for sure better tonight than they were last night," BYU head coach Chris McGown said. "There was that one rally toward the end of the night where we were crushing the ball at them and they were digging everything. That was a good example of how well they were playing defensively. I thought it was the best team we've faced all year defensively."
Langlois led the Cougars with 16 kills and four digs. Sander had a career-high 15 kills in this win. He also had two aces and five digs. Michael Hatch tied his career-high in kills with eight and had three blocks. Joseph Grosh led the team in blocks with four and also had six kills. After a career night on Friday, Matt Underwood had nine kills and seven digs. Jaylen Reyes led the team with 10 digs and Robbie Sutton had a team-high 28 assists.
The Cougars’ (11-3, 10-2 Mountain Pacific Sports Federation) first point was scored off of a tool from the 49ers’ (8-6, 5-6 MPSF) block by Langlois, which led to a quick 3-0 run. Sander came flying out of the back row for a big kill to put BYU up 6-4. A line shot from Underwood pushed the Cougars’ lead to 11-9, but the 49ers answered back by tying it up at 13 all.
The teams traded the lead back and forth until Heap served an ace and BYU began to pull away slightly, 17-15. Langlois drilled a cross-court attack for the kill and the 22-19 lead. A Cougar hitting error allowed the 49ers to tie the game at 23-23, but a service error brought the first set point. BYU and Long Beach State had two set points apiece until the 49ers took the first set 28-26.
Three of the Cougars’ first four points of the second set were scored off of errors made by the 49ers, but a tool off the block by Sander gave BYU the early 5-3 lead. A desperation save by Tyler Heap kept the play alive to set up Sander out of the backrow for the kill and the 3-0 run to go up 9-5. Two well-placed tips by Sander and Grosh made it 14-12, but Long Beach State came back to tie it at 14-14 after an ace.
After the 49ers took their first lead of the set, the Cougars came storming back to take the 19-16 advantage with a 4-0 run, which included an ace from Sander. BYU won the second set 25-23 on a missed serve from Long Beach State to tie it up at one set apiece. Of the Cougars’ last seven points of the game, six were errors from the 49ers and one was a cross-court kill by Underwood.
In the third set, BYU’s first six points were errors by Long Beach State. An ace from Sander tied up the game 7-7 after being behind for the first part of the set. The Cougars went on a quick 3-0 run to push the lead to 10-8 before missing a serve to allow the 49ers a sideout. Behind three kills from Hatch, BYU went on a 6-2 run to go up 20-15 and take control of the set. Grosh powered through the block for a quick kill to win the third set 25-18 and go up two sets to one.
Langlois caught fire in the fourth set, earning three of the Cougars’ first five points and tying the game 5-5 after his attempt barely rolled over the net. The two teams stayed close, neither able to go on a big run. After another tie, Grosh powered through the block to take the 12-11 lead. One of the few times BYU scored two in a row in this set started when Langlois hit the ball off of the block for the kill to push the lead to 17-15.
The longest rally of the match came when the 49ers played amazing defense, letting nothing hit the floor until Sander finally pounded it down from the outside to push the lead to 23-20. A kill from Langlois outside won the fourth set 25-23 and the match three sets to one.
BYU returns home next weekend for a two-game series with Ball State. The two teams will face off on Friday at 7 p.m. MST. 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.