PROVO, Utah—No. 3 BYU beat Cal Baptist in straight sets (25-20, 26-24, 25-22) on a historic night for Taylor Sander, who became the BYU career kills leader during the rally-scoring era.
"(Taylor) has never said a word to me about it, I've never said a word to him about it," head coach Chris McGown said. "These things are just a product of playing well. We don't think about it too much, but it's certainly a nice achievement for him."
Sander surpassed Robb Stowell for the No. 1 spot in the rally-scoring era and No. 2 all-time at BYU and currently has 1,563 career kills. His 13 kills on the night led the Cougars, and he also contributed three blocks. Devin Young's 10 kills were a season-high, and Michael Hatch had five blocks and seven kills, tying a career-high. Tyler Heap recorded 37 assists. With the sweep, the Cougars (16-4, 16-2 MPSF) have not dropped a set at home since January and have won 21-straight matches in the Fieldhouse. Cal Baptist (4-18, 2-16 MPSF) was led by Johannes Brink's 18 kills.
"We were a little sluggish through some of those sets, but I like the way we battled back and regained some composure," McGown said. "Our guys did a really nice job of settling down and playing the way we know how to play."
BYU took the first set 25-20. Tied 6-6, the Cougars scored seven of the next eight points to gain their first real advantage at 13-7. The Lancers stayed within striking distance, but did not get closer than four points. Holding a 22-18 lead, Sander had a block and an ace to give the Cougars their first set point opportunity. After two points from the Lancers, Josue Rivera’s kill finished the set for the Cougars. Sander led the way with four kills and a block. Rivera contributed three kills.
The two teams traded points for much of the second set, with Brett Anderson’s three-straight blocks keying a 4-0 Cal Baptist run to create the first significant lead for either team at 17-14. Trailing 21-17, kills from the Cougars’ Hatch and Sander sparked a 4-0 run and tied the game. After exchanging points, Matt Underwood’s kill gave BYU a set point chance, but the Lancers answered to tie the game at 24. Another kill from Underwood and an error from Cal Baptist gave the Cougars the set 26-24.
The Cougars started quickly in the final set, scoring the first four points. The Lancers battled to within one on multiple occasions, but Phil Fuchs’ back-to-back kills extended the BYU lead to 14-10. Holding a 23-20 lead, Sander’s kill put the Cougars in match-point position. After a couple BYU errors gave Cal Baptist some life, the Lancers’ service error clinched the set and match for the Cougars.
BYU will play its final two home matches of the season next weekend, hosting UC Santa Barbara Friday at 7 p.m. MDT and UCLA Saturday at 8 p.m. MDT. Both games will be broadcast on BYUtv.
No. 3 BYU welcomes Cal Baptist to Fieldhouse
PROVO, Utah—No. 3 BYU men’s volleyball hosts Cal Baptist Saturday at 7 p.m. MDT in the team’s third match of a five-match home stand. The match will be broadcast live on BYU Radio.
The Cougars (15-4, 15-2 MPSF) sit atop the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation after sweeping defending NCAA champion UC Irvine and UC San Diego at home. Long Beach State, who split its series with BYU this season, is in second place with a 12-4 conference record and is No. 2 in the AVCA poll.
BYU last faced Cal Baptist (4-17, 2-15 MPSF) in February, when the Cougars ran off with a 3-0 victory in Riverside, Calif. BYU holds a 16-3 all-time series record against the Lancers and is 5-0 under head coach Chris McGown.
The Cougars seek to continue a 20-match home win streak, which started in February of the 2013 season. BYU hasn’t lost a set in the Smith Fieldhouse since Jan. 24 against Stanford.
Taylor Sander leads the Cougars with 4.60 kills per set, which is second most in the nation. Middle blocker Michael Hatch also ranks in the top five nationally for blocks, coming in second with 1.48 per set.
Cal Baptist looks to break a five-match losing streak with the help of Johannes Brink’s 3.86 kills per set and 1.53 digs per set, and Brett Anderson’s 10.10 assists per set. Amir Lugo-Rodriguez averages 1.13 blocks per set to lead the Lancers.
BYU Radio is available on Sirius XM 143 or on the Dish music channel package on channel 980. Free audio streaming is available through byuradio.org or the BYU Radio app for iPad and iPhone. Links to audio streaming and live stats are available on the BYU men’s volleyball schedule page.