BYU advances to the MPSF Semifinals after 3-1 win over Concordia
PALO ALTO, Calif. — The No. 2 seeded BYU men’s volleyball defeated the No. 7 Concordia University Irvine 3-1 (20-25, 25-23, 25-18, 25-15) on Wednesday afternoon in Maples Pavilion in the quarterfinals of the 2023 MPSF Tournament, extending its win streak to nine games.
"Props to our guys for staying in it and rebounding after that loss in the first set," said BYU head coach Shawn Olmstead. "Our service pressure improved in the last two sets and turned things in our favor for us to finish off those final sets quicker."
The Cougars (19-6) were led by outside hitter Kupono Browne, with 20 kills on a .457 clip and three service aces. Browne has led BYU in kills in four out of its five last games. BYU also won it from the service line, with a season-high of 10 aces in today's game. Freshman Trent Moser came off the bench and recorded five aces, the most by any player this season.
The Golden Eagles took a 3-2 lead after a pair of BYU hitting errors and kept hold of their lead for the entirety of set one. Gavin Julien had a solo block at 11-10 to keep BYU within one point.
The Cougars called a timeout trailing 21-16 but were unable to gain momentum ultimately dropping the first set 25-20.
Kupono Browne led the Cougars with five kills on a .500 clip. The Golden Eagles finished the first set with a .478 hitting percentage over BYU’s .320 clip.
Opposite from set one, there were 13 ties and five lead changes during the second set. BYU took its first lead of the game at 4-3 after a long rally which was put to rest by a Luke Benson kill. A kill from the middle by Julien gave him his fourth of the game at 6-4. MPSF All-Freshman Team selection Trent Moser subbed in for the Cougars at 7-7 and immediately recorded an ace to give BYU the spark it needed.
With ties at 20, 21 and 22, Moser then helped BYU get the next two points with a kill then block for a 24-22 lead. Moser would also close the set with a kill at 25-23 to even the match at one a piece.
The Cougars hit .111 in set two while the Golden Eagles hit a .393 clip. Browne added another five kills to his stat line along with a block.
Browne set the tone in the third set with two aces. He was on the service line for six consecutive points to give BYU an 8-4 lead. BYU continued to keep its lead, with a four-point lead at 14-10 after Browne’s 14th kill of the match.
Moser got another ace for the Cougars for a 18-12 lead, its biggest lead of the game so far. BYU cruised its way to a set three win at 25-18 courtesy of a serve by Jon Stanley that led to a CUI hitting error.
Browne continued to lead the charge for the Cougars with six kills and three aces. BYU only had two attack errors with a .370 hitting percentage, holding the Golden Eagles to a .333 clip.
A set dump by senior setter Heath Hughes gave BYU an early 6-5 lead. Moser followed with back-to-back aces for BYU’s eighth ace of the night.
BYU achieved a large lead at 17-10 after a CUI service error and sailed towards a smooth victory at 25-15, winning the game 3-1 and pushing its way to the MPSF Semifinals.
Off the bench, Moser had three aces in the fourth set, along with one kill. The Cougars hit .304 in the final set, holding CUI to a .143 hitting percentage.
The Cougars will play the highest remaining seed in the Semifinals of the MPSF Tournament on Friday, April 19 at 7 p.m. PDT in Maples Pavilion. Later today, No. 3 Stanford will play No. 6 USC and No. 4 Grand Canyon will face No. 5 Pepperdine, with top-seeded UCLA having an automatic bye.
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