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wcraft | Posted: 23 Feb 2013 | Updated: 8 Nov 2020

Five-set thriller goes to BYU


PROVO, Utah –The No. 2 BYU men’s volleyball team defeated No. 5 Stanford on Saturday night, 3-2 (23-25, 25-23, 21-25, 25-21,15-13) to end a six-match all-time losing streak against the Cardinal that dates back to 2010.

“I’m super proud of the way the guys battled tonight,” said BYU head coach Chris McGown. “Stanford’s a really great team, and a team we’ve had trouble with over the last few seasons, so this was a milestone match for us to get.”

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Freshman Ben Patch led all players with a career-high 26 kills, followed closely by Taylor Sander with 25. Patch also led the squad with a .465 attack. Senior Ryan Boyce paced the offense with 57 assists while adding five digs and five blocks. 

Josue Rivera finished with 12 kills, a .458 attack and a game-high 13 digs. 

In the decisive fifth set, BYU (11-3, 10-2 MSPF) took an early 3-1 lead behind kills from Sander and Rivera. Stanford (9-6, 6-6 MPSF) came back to tie the set at 3-3 and 4-4 before the Cougars again took the lead, this time keeping it. The teams tied once more at 10-10 but kills from Patch and Sander gave the Cougars the momentum they needed for the 15-13 final, and match victory.

“We needed to win this at home,” McGown said. “Every match is important but particularly the ones at home we need to win. I was proud of how the guys stayed composed with some big plays, a loud crowd, etc. – they really stepped up tonight.”

After being down 7-4 early in the first set, the Cougars fought back and tied the match at 10-10 behind a kill from Sander. The teams traded points from there, all the way to 23-23, before Stanford took the final two points off BYU errors for the 25-23 set victory.

BYU and Stanford played back-and-forth for much of the second set until the Cardinal took a late 22-20 lead. A kill from Brian Cook gave Stanford an even larger lead at 23-20 but the home team was ready for a comeback. The Cougars scored five-straight points to finish off the set 25-23 and tie the match at 1-1.

Set three was similar to set two with neither team taking a lead of more than two points but both taking turns with the lead. The Cardinal led first at 5-3 and stayed in front until BYU tied it up at 7-7. More back-and-forth action comprised the rest of the set until Stanford took a late 21-19 lead. Sander and Patch tried to bring the Cougars back in it with a pair of kills but errors from the home team down the stretch gave the Cardinal the 25-21 win. 

The Cougars scored the first point in set four, a kill from Rivera, and didn’t trail through the rest of it. Their largest lead of the set came after a kill from Devin Young put BYU up 20-16 and on its way to a 25-21 set victory to tie the match at 2-2. BYU hit .583 in set four compared to Stanford’s .368.

The Cougars are back on the road next weekend with matches against UC irvine March 1 and UC San Diego March 2.


wweekes | Posted: 19 Feb 2013 | Updated: 8 Nov 2020

No. 2 Cougars return to Smith Fieldhouse


#2 BYU (9-3, 8-2 MPSF)
#14 Pacific (4-6, 5-6 MPSF)
#5 Stanford (9-5, 6-5 MPSF)

PROVO, Utah – After its first road trip of the season, the No. 2 BYU men’s volleyball team returns to the Smith Fieldhouse and hosts No. 14 Pacific and No. 5 Stanford, Friday and Saturday, respectively.

Both matches are slated to begin at 7 p.m. MST and will be broadcast live on BYUtv.

After holding the top ranking in the American Volleyball Coaches Association’s poll for four-straight weeks, the Cougars dropped a spot to No. 2 after splitting matches on the road against then-No. 5 Pepperdine and then-No. 10 USC. BYU remains atop the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation standings.

After falling behind 2-0 at Pepperdine, BYU forced a fifth set before falling 3-2. The Cougars bounced back Saturday night, picking up their first road win of 2013 at USC (3-1). Junior Taylor Sander recorded 23 kills with a .543 clip, while tying a career-high 10 digs and two aces. Sander has recorded double-digit kills in all 12 matches.

Senior Russ Lavaja is No. 2 in the MPSF in blocks, averaging 1.38, and No. 3 in hitting percentage with a .496 clip. Lavaja is tied with Russell Holmes at No. 2 in career block assists in the BYU rally-scoring era with 477.

As a team, the Cougars are No. 1 in hitting percentage (.326) and blocks (3.11) in the conference. BYU is also holding opponents’ hitting percentage to .237, the second-best mark.


The Tigers, currently tied for 10th in the MPSF standings, are coming off back-to-back road losses at Long Beach State (3-0) and Cal State Northridge (3-1).

Javier Caceres popped up 17 digs at Long Beach State, an MPSF-high this year for any three-set match. Caceres is No. 1 in the conference in digs with 3.10 per set.

Pacific is ranked third in opponent hitting percentage (.252) and in blocks (2.60) in the MPSF.

BYU owns the series record with Pacific, 29-5. The Cougars topped the Tigers in 2012, 3-0.


The Cardinal started last weekend with a 3-1 victory at Cal State Northridge but went on to fall 3-0 at Long Beach State. In its win, Stanford hit a season-best .466, sixth-highest in the MPSF this year, guided by a .692 (29-2-39) clip over sets two and three.

Brian Cook led the Cardinal against Cal State Northridge with 21 kills on a .459 clip. Cook is No. 4 in the MPSF in points with 4.75 per set.

Stanford is No. 5 in the MPSF standings. The Cardinal holds three top-five conference team rankings. Stanford is No. 3 in service aces (1.24), No. 5 in kills (12.78) and No. 5 in assists (12.0).

BYU leads the series with the Cardinal 25-15, however, Stanford came away with wins in all three 2012 meetings. The Cardinal won both regular season contests at the Smith Fieldhouse, 3-1 and 3-0, before knocking the Cougars out of the MPSF semifinals with a 3-1 victory.

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