PROVO, Utah – An efficient Taylor Sander and his 16 kills led the No. 1 BYU men’s volleyball team to a 3-0 (25-13, 25-21, 25-20) sweep of No. 12 Cal Baptist on Friday night in the Smith Fieldhouse.
Along with his match-high kills, Sander tied a career high with a .750 hitting percentage. Russ Lavaja and Josue Rivera added six kills apiece to help the Cougars improve to 14-3 on the year and 13-2 in the MPSF.
"Taylor did a really nice job tonight of not trying to overdo it, just hit balls in smart spots," BYU head coach Chris McGown said. "He kind of played the way he can play: deep into the court, mixing it up, hit some roll shots here and there and just kept them off balance a little bit. And the fact that he passed and played defense as well as he did really helped us a lot."
BYU started strong, winning the first three points and jumping out to a 7-2 lead early on. The Cougars continued to roll to a 15-6 lead, led by three early kills from Sander. Riding the momentum and back-to-back aces late in the set from Rivera, BYU cruised to a 25-13 set-one victory.
Set No. 2 started a little different, with Cal Baptist looking to bounce back. Tied 6-6, BYU got some separation at 8-6 but the Lancers came right back to tie it at 9 apiece. A quick 3-0 run gave BYU some space and Cal Baptist could never come all the way back despite keeping it close. Sander provided four kills to add to his six in the first set to give the Cougars a 25-21 win in the second set and a 2-0 match lead.
The Lancers came out of the break to answer in the third set. Both teams traded scores to start the set with the score tied 8-8. Neither team got more than a two-point advantage and the back-and-forth set continued late tied at 17. Sander’s 16th kill of the night gave BYU a 22-19 lead and another block added one more. Freshman Ben Patch gave BYU match point with a kill and an error by Cal Baptist sealed BYU’s 25-20 win in the third set and the 3-0 sweep for the match.
The Cougars host the Lancers again tomorrow night at 7 p.m. MST in the Smith Fieldhouse. The match will be broadcast live on BYUtv.
No. 1 BYU Cougars (13-3, 12-2 MPSF)
No. 12 Cal Baptist Lancers (7-9, 4-7 MPSF)
PROVO, Utah – Coming off two road victories, the No. 1 BYU men’s volleyball team is back at home, welcoming No. 12 Cal Baptist to the Smith Fieldhouse Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m. MST.
Cal Baptist is the only Mountain Pacific Sports Federation opponent BYU has yet to face this season. This is the Lancers first season in the conference.
The Cougars are back in the top-spot in the national AVCA poll after knocking off No. 1 UC Irvine. BYU topped the Anteaters 3-2, after trailing 0-2, and swept UC San Diego last weekend on the road. The Cougars also remain atop the MPSF standings as the No. 1 team.
Freshman Ben Patch is this week’s AVCA and MPSF Player of the Week for the second week in a row after recording an MPSF-high and BYU record 35 kills. Patch is the first player to ever earn consecutive AVCA Player of the Week honors.
Junior Taylor Sander leads the Cougars, who are riding a five-match win-streak, with 3.77 kills per set followed by Patch with 3.55.
BYU is ranked first in the MPSF in hitting percentage (.326), opponent hitting percentage (.242) and blocks (2.98).
Cal Baptist is coming off a 3-0 sweep over UC San Diego that snapped a five-match losing streak. The Lancers host Pacific Wednesday before traveling to Provo.
Cal Baptist leads the conference in assists and kills, with 12.82 and 13.46 per set, respectively.
Levi Cabral holds the top spot in points in the MPSF with 4.93 per set. Cabral is also second in kills with a 4.23 average and is third in aces with .530 per set. Brett Anderson has the highest number of assists in the conference with an 11.87 average.
The Cougar captured the 2012 meeting between the two teams 3-1. BYU also owns the overall record 13-3.
Both matches will be broadcast live on BYUtv. Live stats will also be available for both matches through the schedule page. Follow @BYUvolleyball on Twitter for team and match updates.