Cougars sweep Cardinals behind Sanders' eight kills

knielsen | Posted: 11 Apr 2021 | Updated: 11 Apr 2021
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PROVO, Utah – Eight kills from Brenden Sander helped No. 4 BYU men’s volleyball to a 3-0 sweep (25-22, 25-19, 25-23) over No. 13 Ball State Friday night at the Smith Fieldhouse.

“I thought we weren’t as clean offensively as we wanted to be in the first two sets, but the guys worked really hard defensively,” BYU head coach Chris McGown said. “They kept a lot of balls alive and kept a lot of pressure on Ball State.”

Phil Fuchs and Kiril Meretev added five kills each, while Joe Grosh chipped in four kills and a service ace for the Cougars (12-3, 10-2 MPSF). Robbie Sutton added a team-high 15 assists and tied Jaylen Reyes with the team high in digs with seven apiece. The win extended BYU’s home-win streak to 35 matches.

In the first set, Grosh led BYU with four kills, while Fuchs added three of his own. BYU took an early 9-4 lead thanks to a 4-0 run which included kills from Michael Hatch and Josue Rivera and an ace from Joseph Grosh

Ball State (9-6, 4-3 MIVA) came back to tie the game at 12 on a 4-1 run of its own and kept the set close. The Cougars used a 5-2 spurt off kills from Grosh and Rivera to take a 23-20 advantage which they held on to for the first set victory at 25-22.

In the second, a fast start put BYU up 8-2 off two kills from Sander and one each from Grosh and Price Jarman. The Cardinals twice cut the lead to three but didn’t get any closer. Sander led the Cougars in the set with five kills.

BYU rolled off three points to win the third set and clinch the sweep after trailing for the first meaningful lead in the match at 23-22. 

“I don’t mind that our team gets put in some pressure situations,” McGown said. ”I kind of wanted to see how we’d react. Could we compose ourselves in this big moment? How are we going to react? 

“The guys came through great, did a really nice job and got a couple defensive stops.”

Two blocks from Grosh finished off the Cardinals after Meretev tied the game up at 23 with a kill. BYU was never up by more than three in the final set and Meretev had all five of his kills coming in the final set. Sander added three kills and an ace to finish off his night.

The Cougars will host Ball State again on Saturday at 7 p.m. MST. The game will be televised on BYUtv and simulcast on BYU Radio.

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