No. 6 BYU caps undefeated home season in sweep of No. 8 Stanford
PROVO, Utah — The No. 6 BYU men's volleyball team finished off a perfect 14-0 season at home Saturday night, defeating the No. 8 Stanford Cardinal in straight sets 3-0 (25-22, 25-23, 25-19), while extending their win streak to eight games heading into the MPSF Tournament. The Cougars also honored seniors Mitchel Worthington and Heath Hughes in what would be the final home games of their careers.
"I'm grateful for the support of my teammates," said Worthington. "Each year for me has been a little bit different. I've seen so many teammates grow and see myself grow over the years."
"I came into a program that already had all of the pieces they just needed an old guy to come run the offense," said Hughes. "I'm so glad I came to Provo I wouldn't have wanted to go anywhere else. I want to do it all over again already. I've loved every second of my time here at BYU."
BYU has not had a perfect season in the Smith Fieldhouse since 2014. The Cougars were 9-0 in Provo during the 2020 until the season was cut short due to COVID-19.
Luke Benson led the Cougar attack throughout the match, recording 14 kills on 27 attempts and hitting at a .276 clip. Benson also contributed heavily on the defensive side, recording four blocks. Ramanis was the second leading scorer for the Cougars, putting down 10 kills on 18 attempts.
Defensively, Gavin Julien helped lift the Cougars as well, recording four blocks. Kupono Browne contributed his fair share, stuffing the Cardinal attack on three separate occasions.
The first set saw a back-and-forth battle, with the Cougars ultimately prevailing 25-22. Luke Benson led the way offensively for the Cougars, putting down seven kills in the set. Ramanis also contributed to the win, hitting .500 and recording three kills. Defensively, four different Cougars posted blocks, shutting down the potent Cardinal attack.
BYU gained an early 3-1 lead off the block assist by Benson and Teon Taylor. They would maintain that lead until the Stanford block to tie the set at 7-7. The Cardinal and Cougars would trade the next 13 points, resulting in fourteen ties throughout the set until the big kill by Senior Heath Hughes to take the 20-18 lead.
The Cardinal didn't back down, tying the set for the 14th time at 21. But after service and attack errors by the Stanford offense, kills by Ramanis and Benson finished the set, giving the Cougars the early 1-0 advantage.
BYU jumped out to a quick 8-4 lead in set two after kills by Ramanis, Kupono and Benson, along with Taylor's first ace of the season. BYU wouldn't look back from there, as they would maintain that lead for the rest of the set, winning 25-23 to take a 2-0 advantage.
The Cardinal fought back throughout the game, going on a 3-0 run to pull within one point, while BYU kept the 13-12 lead. Browne's kill followed by Taylors' season-high second ace of the set helped keep the Cougar's distance though, making it a 17-13 advantage.
Stanford continued to battle, but Ramanis' dig and kill combo kept the Cougar lead at four, 20-16. In the closing moments of the set, Stanford continued to apply the pressure, bringing the lead to just two for the Cougars 24-22. With a fourth straight set point, Browne's attack error gave the Cardinal one last opportunity. Following the BYU timeout, the seventh service error of the set for the Stanford ended their run, giving the Cougars the critical win.
After winning the first two sets, the Cougars continued to roll in the third, finishing off the Cardinal by a final score of 25-19 to take the match. Two kills by Browne and one by Ramanis gave BYU a 4-2 lead. An ace by Ramanis and a kill by Benson helped keep the Cardinal at bay, as BYU maintained their lead 21-16. The Cougars went on to hold their early lead for the second time on the night, despite committing a match-high five service errors.
Benson continued his big night, recording four more kills, one of which was the final kill of the match, along with one more block. Ramanis also recorded four kills in the set.
The Cougars will carry their eight match win-streak into the MPSF Tournament, beginning on Wednesday, April 19. Holding the number two seed in the tournament, BYU will get set to face the No. 7 seed Concordia in the Quarterfinals at 3:05 p.m. PDT in the Maples Pavilion.
The second round of the tournament will be held on Thursday, April 20, with the Championship match to be played Saturday, April 22. Watch the Cougars live on FloSports or follow the action live on StatBroadcast.
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