No. 7 Cougars sweep No. 10 Lopes behind Sander’s performance
PHOENIX – No. 7 BYU men’s volleyball beat No. 10 Grand Canyon in straight sets (25-17, 25-20, 25-17) behind 14 kills from Brenden Sander Thursday night at the GCU Arena.
“This was a great win for our guys tonight,” BYU head coach Shawn Olmstead said. “Hats off to all the Cougar fans who packed the house and cheered for the team. Brenden played extremely physical to give us a boost.”
In addition to Sander’s 14 kills, he added a team-high five digs and four blocks while hitting at a season-high .636 clip. Leo Durkin set the team with 26 assists while Price Jarman contributed seven blocks in the win.
Three-straight Jarman blocks helped BYU (9-4, 2-0 MPSF) take a 3-1 lead early in the first set against Grand Canyon (11-4, 1-2 MPSF). A service ace then helped the Lopes even the score at 7-7. The Cougars countered with a 4-0 run, capped off by a Gabi Garcia Fernandez and Jarman block, to go back up 11-7. Three kills from Sander then kept BYU up 17-12, forcing a timeout from Grand Canyon. Two Andrew Lincoln kills pushed the Cougars to set point before one final kill from Sander gave BYU the set 25-17.
Several errors from the Cougars helped the Lopes go up 5-2 to start the second set. Grand Canyon remained ahead 10-7 after a kill, but back-to-back Sander blocks propelled a 5-0 BYU run to give it a 12-10 advantage. Another Cougar run, this time 5-1, made it 18-13. The Lopes then found an offensive rhythm, getting back within one, trailing 21-20. BYU closed out the set scoring the last four-straight points, however, to take the set 25-20.
The Cougars jumped out to a 9-2 lead in the third set after two kills each from Fernandez and Sander. An ace from Storm Fa’agata-Tufuga and kill from Sander extended the advantage to eight at 14-6, but a 4-1 Grand Canyon rally brought it back within five, down 15-10. The teams went back-and-forth from there as a Sander kill made it 22-14. A double-touch call on the Lopes then ended the set in BYU’s favor, 25-17.
The Cougars stay on the road next, traveling to Concordia Irvine Saturday, Feb. 17, at 1 p.m. PST. Live stats for the match can be found on the BYU men’s volleyball schedule page.