BYU advances to national championship after sweeping Long Beach State

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(Jaren Wilkey/BYU Photo)
Brenden Sander goes up for the kill against Long Beach State. The Cougars swept the 49ers on Thursday.

No. 4 seed BYU upset No. 2 seed Long Beach State with a clean sweep (25-20, 25-18, 25-23) on Thursday evening in the national semifinals at St. John Arena in Ohio.

“First of all, a huge congrats to Long Beach on their spectacular season,” said BYU coach Shawn Olmstead. “I’m pretty speechless with this group of guys. Sometimes in coaching I get caught up in watching these guys complete. Just the performance that these guys put in tonight was incredible.”

BYU performed exceptionally well against the 49ers. Leo Durkin led the team with 34 assists, Brenden Sander had 15 attacks and Jake Langlois aced four serves. The Cougars had 25 digs and only six receiving errors on the evening.

Long Beach State took a 4-1 lead at the beginning of the first set, but BYU stopped them in their tracks when Sander drilled his first attack of the evening. BYU followed the kill with five-straight points to go up to 6-4.

BYU kept that lead through the rest of the game to wrap up the first set, 25-20.

Jake Langlois had three aces in a row to open the second set, giving BYU good momentum that carried through the rest of the set.

Long Beach had five service errors and one attack error that prevented them from catching up. A kill from Joseph Grosh finished off the second set for BYU, 25-18.

The third set had a much different feel as Long Beach built up a lead of 9-5 to open the set.

A trio of kills from Tim Dobbert helped BYU get back in the game and bring the score closer together (11-9). The Cougars trailed the 49ers until Dobbert and Grosh had a block and tied it up at 22-22. A service ace by Jake Langlois and a final kill by Brenden Sander finished the set and the match 25-23.

BYU will advance to the national championship match which will be played on Saturday at 5 p.m. MDT against the winner of the No. 1 Ohio State vs. No. 4 Hawaii semifinal.