The BYU men’s volleyball team split the weekend’s matches against Lewis University, losing on Friday but coming back strong for the win on Saturday.
On Saturday, Taylor Sander and the BYU Cougars swept the Lewis University Flyers in dominant fashion after losing the night before in five hard-fought sets.
Flyers’ outside hitter, Geoff Powell, had a phenomenal performance in Friday night’s match, recording 24 kills with a .767 attack percentage and with three kills in the fifth set. Senior outside hitter Jay Petty put the finishing touches on the Cougars, providing the service as the Flyers turned a 7–8 deficit into a 13–8 lead and, ultimately, a 15–9 victory.
BYU made sure Powell didn’t torch it again Saturday night.
“We just wanted to make a little adjustment blocking and definitely serve short to try to get (Powell) out of the back row hitting,” Sander said. “I think we got good spots on him and made him a little bit uncomfortable and forced him into some hitting errors.”
BYU setter Ryan Boyce led the way in Saturday’s victory with 44 assists, while Sander and freshman Ben Patch chipped in 12 kills apiece for BYU. The Cougars finished off the Flyers 25–14 in the third and final set, improving to 3–1 on the season with the win.
“Ryan (Boyce) did an amazing job setting tonight, and I think that was the biggest difference,” Sander said. “The confidence we had out there was far beyond what we had last night.”
Friday’s loss most likely means the Cougars will drop from their number two ranking, but that didn’t bother BYU head coach Chris McGown. He saw the loss as a learning experience.
“We understand that the season is a long process, and to be honest, I think a loss like this is educational,” McGown said. “We’re going to learn some things. We’re going to try to be better as a result and try to hammer some points home. As far as ranking goes, we’re not concerned. This season for us will be about conference matches.”
In the defeat, Patch led the team with 16 kills, including seven in the first set. Sander finished with 14 kills and four service aces.
Sander also tied the BYU record for most aces in a career at 91 on Friday night. He recorded three in the first set, and his teammates had nothing but praise for the outside hitter.
“Everything that Taylor (Sander) does is legendary,” Patch said. “I think that all of us look up to him, and that’s something that we want to (do) ourselves. We want to get aces too.”
His coach chimed in on the praise too.
“For sure (Taylor) will be one of the best ever, there’s no question about that,” McGown said. “I think the book is yet to be written about him. This (record) is just one milestone. I think he will have many.”
A humble Sander shrugged off the praise.
“I didn’t know (I tied the record), but that’s awesome,” Sander said. “I just want to be a better server, so I’m going to work harder and see if I can set that number high, but it’s all about the team first.”
BYU stays home this week and faces No. 1 UC Irvine this weekend.