NORTHRIDGE, Calif. – Libero Mitchel Worthington’s defense helped No. 3 BYU men’s volleyball beat No. 14 CSUN in four sets (26-24, 25-15, 22-25, 26-24) Friday night at the Matadome.
“We had another great team win tonight,” BYU head coach Shawn Olmstead said. “Each one of these guys showed a ton of heart and fight. I'm proud of the way they battled back to take the first and fourth sets.”
Worthington collected a career-high 14 digs in the win. Ben Patch led the Cougars with 24 kills while hitting at a .415 clip. Joseph Grosh and Price Jarman each had three blocks. Leo Durkin contributed 47 assists and Brenden Sander had a season-high 15 kills on the night.
A pair of Patch kills helped BYU (6-1, 2-0 Mountain Pacific Sports Federation) take a 3-2 lead in the first set against CSUN (6-3, 1-3 MPSF). A pair of Kiril Meretev kills helped the Cougars on a 5-0 run to go up 8-5, but a Matador block eventually tied the set at 12-all. A 3-1 CSUN run then prompted BYU to take a timeout, trailing 17-15. Another 4-1 rally by the Matadors quickly pushed them ahead 22-18, but three-straight CSUN errors put the Cougars within a point, down 22-21. BYU ended the set on a 5-0 run as a Grosh kill followed by a Sander kill won the close set 26-24.
A Jarman kill put the Cougars up 5-3 to begin the second set. A Durkin and Jarman block extended the BYU advantage at 13-8, forcing a Matador timeout. A kill from Patch kept the Cougars up 19-13, and BYU finished the set on a 6-1 run to easily win by double digits, 25-15.
The two teams remained close to start the third set, as a Sander kill gave the Cougars a 6-5 edge. A Meretev kill extended the lead to three at 10-7, but CSUN rallied with a 5-1 run to take a 12-11 lead. The teams were tied 16-all after a Patch kill, and another Sander kill put BYU up 20-19. The Matadors then scored the next four of five points to take a 23-21 advantage before winning the set 25-22 on a kill.
CSUN took a quick 6-1 lead to start the fourth set after several Cougar miscues. BYU clawed its way back to tie the set at 9-9 following a Durkin kill. A 3-0 Matador rally put them ahead 13-10, but a Patch and Jarman block capped off a 5-1 Cougar run to put their team up 16-15. BYU took a 22-20 lead after a couple of quick points, but CSUN countered with a 4-1 rally to collect set point, 24-23. The Cougars turned things around, however, as three-straight points gave BYU a 26-24 set four win.
The Cougars return home next week, facing UC Irvine Friday, Jan. 27, at 7 p.m. MST. The match will be broadcast live on BYUtv and simulcast on BYU Radio. Links to live stats and video/audio feeds can be found on the BYU men’s volleyball schedule page.