Josue Rivera led the Cougars with 14 kills, nine digs and five blocks. Robb Stowell also contributed 12 kills and seven digs, and Futi Tavana posted 11 kills while leading all players with seven blocks.
Play in the first set was back and forth, with neither team leading by more than three points early on. After a service error by Josue Rivera and a kill by Cal Baptist’s Aaron McCalmont, which led to a score of 15-18, BYU called a timeout. Futi Tavana came out of the timeout with a big kill, bringing the Cougars within two, but that was the closest BYU would get, with Cal Baptist eventually finishing the set 25-22.
The Lancers’ momentum carried them into the second set and held the lead through the entire set, allowing only one tied score. The Cougars hit just .032 percent to Cal Baptist’s .407 percent in the second. Cal Baptist finished the set, 25-17, posting the biggest lead of the night with the win and taking a 2-0 set lead over BYU.
The third set proved to be a battle, with five tied scores in the first ten points. After a tied score of 5-5, BYU took control of the lead. With back-to-back kills, Tyler Abertson put the game away for the Cougars, 25-17. The Cougars’ hitting improved drastically in the third, with five different players posting two or more kills and Rivera leading BYU with four.
In the fourth, it was the Cougars who came out strong, taking an early 10-2 lead. The Lancer’s fought to stay in the game, but were only able to come within six. Tavana finished the game for BYU with a strong kill down the middle on the second match point, 25-14.
Off two Cougars errors, the Lancers scored the first two points in the fifth set, but a kill by Russ Lavaja tied the set at 3-3. From the tied score, BYU built on the momentum and increase its lead by as many as five. Again, it was Tavana who put the game away with two kills in a row, finishing the set and match with a score of 15-10.
The Lancers’ had three players post double-digit kills, with McCalmont leading all players on 19 kills and Michael Cate posting 18 digs.
The Cougars will take on the Lancers again tomorrow, Saturday, at the Smith Fieldhouse at 7 p.m. MST. The match will be broadcast live on BYUtv and online at byutvsport.com/gameday.
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FIrst of 8-Straight Home Matches This Weekend
The No. 3 BYU men's volleyball team begins its 8-match home swing with two matches this weekend on Feb. 17 and 18 against the Cal Baptist Lancers at 7 p.m. MT both nights. The Cougars currently lead the Division I-II men's volleyball nation in average home attendance.
The Cougars and Lancers meet in Provo for the 12th time in the 14-match all-time series. BYU leads the overall record 11-3 against Cal Baptist.
BYU is riding a 6-3 overall record this season, on a two-match winning streak, with its most recent wins coming over UCSD on the road last weekend. Senior Robb Stowell leads the Cougar offense with 139 kills followed closely by teammate Josue Rivera who is contributing 107. Seven other BYU players also join Stowell and Rivera with double-digit kills on the year.
The Cougars are outblocking their opponents this season 139.5 to 72 and currently lead the NCAA for their blocks per set.
The Lancers come to Provo with a 3-9 season record after splitting last weekend’s play with a win over UC Santa Cruz and loss against Lees-McRae. Aaron McCalmont leads the Lancer offense with 112 kills and 14 service aces. Nine other Cal Baptist players are also recording double-digit kills this season so far.
Both matches will be broadcast live on BYUtv and online at byutvsport.com/gameday for free. Both games will also be simulcasted on BYU radio, which can be listened to online, and have live stat accompaniment through the BYU men's volleyball schedule page or BYU men's volleyball twitter.
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