PROVO, Utah – Behind 22 kills from Phil Fuchs, No. 6 BYU men’s volleyball completed the weekend sweep of No. 1 Hawai’i on senior night Saturday at the Smith Fieldhouse.
"It was a pretty amazing game," BYU head coach Chris McGown said. "The guys did a great job of staying composed and playing through the entirety of the match. I thought (Hawai'i) really put some pressure on us with its serve. We were better than they were for quite a bit of the match with the exception of a few runs."
With this upset, the Cougars improve to 17-9, 14-8 in Mountain Pacific Sports Federation play. The Warriors (23-5, 18-4 MPSF) have not won in Provo since 2003. BYU had 15 team blocks in the upset, compared to Hawai’i’s 9.5.
Fuchs, one of the seniors recognized before the game, tied his career-high in kills with 22. He also tied for a team-high in blocks with five. Brenden Sander earned his first career double-double with 16 kills and 10 digs. Robbie Sutton tied a career high in assists with 52, which is also a season-high. He also had 10 digs. Michael Hatch tied with Fuchs for a team-high in blocks with five to go along with his five kills. Jaylen Reyes had seven digs in his last home match as a Cougar.
Hawai’i started the fifth set with an ace, but kills from BYU’s two middles, Grosh and Hatch, were its first two points. Sander really heated up, drilling four kills in a row for BYU, pushing its lead to 7-5. The Warriors responded with a 4-0 run, taking the 9-7 lead. To stop the run, Jake Langlois was subbed into the game and immediately got a kill for the sideout, which sparked a 5-0 run for the Cougars. Fuchs and Grosh got a stuff block on the right side to make the lead 12-9. A hitting error from Hawai’i won the match for BYU 15-13.
Fuchs got the first set going with a cross-court kill. Hawai’i went on a quick 3-0 run before Sander ended it with a kill from the backrow. The two teams traded points back-and-forth until the Warriors went on another run, outscoring the Cougars 5-1 to take the 12-7 lead. A quick attack from Price Jarman ended the run and got the sideout. Another kill from Jarman sparked BYU on a run of its own, earning three-straight points to cut Hawai’i’s lead to 18-16. The late rally was not enough, however, as the Warriors took the first set 25-22 after a 3-1 run.
BYU came out strong in the second set, scoring the first three points. Sutton and Jarman’s stuff block pushed the Cougars’ lead to 7-3. Hawai’i took its first lead of the set at 12-11. After multiple lead changes and ties, BYU started to pull ahead following a kill from Fuchs. Sutton got a kill off of a scrappy play from Sander to get the ball up off the block to put the Cougars at game point. Sander tooled the ball off the block to win the second set 25-22.
Two kills in a row from Fuchs got the third set started before missed serves plagued both squads. BYU and Hawai’i missed a combined five serves in a row. A triple block made up of Sutton, Jarman and Sander suffed the outside to take the 13-11 lead and spark a 4-0 BYU run. Sander had two sharp cross kills and one solo block just in that run. Hawai’i stormed back with a 5-0 run to tie it up at 16-16. A hitting error from the Cougars gave the Warriors their first lead, 20-19. Hawai’i finished the third set with a kill from the right side, winning 25-23 to take the 2-1 set lead.
The Cougars came out swinging in the fourth set with big kills from Sander and Fuchs. Two kills in a row from Sander put BYU up 6-4. Capped off by a kill from Joseph Grosh, the Cougars went on a 5-0 run to extend their lead to 13-7. With his left hand, Sander got a kill down the line to make it 19-14. A kill from Hatch won the fourth set for BYU 25-18, forcing a fifth set.
The Cougars will now prepare for the MPSF tournament next week. The quarterfinals will be on Saturday, April 25.