No. 3 BYU volleyball sweeps No. 4 Hawaii behind record nights

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The Cougars celebrate after scoring a point against No. 4 Hawaii. The Cougars swept the Rainbow Warriors on back-to-back nights. (BYU Photo)

The No. 3 BYU volleyball team swept No. 4 Hawaii on back-to-back nights behind record-setting performances.

On Friday night, the Cougars set a season high with 12 blocks, en route to their 28-26, 25-18, 25-20 victory. They also set a season high in hitting percentage (.440). BYU was led by Brenden Sander and Jake Langlois, who combined for 27 kills. Joe Grosh had six blocks and Leo Durkin posted 36 assists.

One night later, the Cougars went back to work. BYU set a new season-high with 14 blocks on Saturday and swept Hawaii 25-18, 25-23, 28-26. Sander and Langlois had 24 kills, with Tim Dobbert adding 11.

“For us to stay in it and go down one there at the end, and be able to stay in it I was pretty happy,” said BYU coach Shawn Olmstead. “We made good touches and some good blocks there at the end.”

A devastating block from Sander put the Cougars on the board at 1-1 in the first set Saturday night. Hawaii kept it close for a few points, but a Sander kill led the Cougars on a run of points. A kill from Langlois continued the run at 18-9. The Rainbow Warriors went on a run of their own, but the Cougars took the first set with a Langlois kill 25-19.

Hawaii tapped into its momentum gained at the end of the first set to take control in the second. BYU slowly chipped away at the Rainbow Warriors’ lead, and the Smith Fieldhouse crowd erupted when a Sander kill tied the score at 23-23. Another kill from Sander and an error from Hawaii gave BYU the second set, 25-23.

BYU and Hawaii exchanged blows throughout the third set, with the Cougars eventually jumping out to a 15-12 lead.  A three-point run, topped with an ace from Grosh forced Hawaii to a timeout as the score stood at 18-13. The Rainbow Warriors once again clawed their way back and tied the score at 19-19. A straight down Dobbert kill put BYU 22-22. Another close Sander kill off the block tied the score at 23-23. After three game points a block from Langlois ended the game 28-26.

The Cougars have a quick turnaround as they host Princeton on Tuesday, March 21 at 7 p.m.