BYU volleyball regular season ends with road wins

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The BYU men’s volleyball team once again showed why it is the No. 1 ranked team in the nation with sweeps over Pacific and No. 8 Stanford, finishing off the regular season with a 21–4 record.

The road victories should give the Cougars momentum returning home for the playoffs.

BYU coach Chris McGown used a few different lineups in Friday’s sweep over Pacific. With the regular season title already won and home court advantage secured throughout the conference tournament, a change in lineup is something BYU could afford to do.

Taylor Sander attempts a block in a match earlier this season. (Photo by Sarah Hill)
Taylor Sander attempts a block in a match earlier this season. The Cougars finished the regular season with a 21–4 record. (Photo by Sarah Hill)

“We played a little bit of a different lineup, trying to get some of our other guys some reps,” McGown said. “They came in and played hard. Overall, we were a little bit ragged having been on the road and having some different guys in the lineup. We worked hard, and we did what we do and turned a few points and kept grinding it out.”

BYU handily won the first set, leading by as many as five points before winning it 25–21. The team trailed in the second set 21–22 before winning four of the next five points and stealing the set 25–23. The Cougars went on to dominate the third set, going on a six-point run. They completed the sweep with a 25–19 victory.

Outside hitter Taylor Sander led the Cougars with 11 kills, while Phil Fuchs and Devin Young each contributed eight. Young also had a game-high six blocks. Taylor Hughes and Matthew Houlihan contributed 13 and 12 kills each for the Tigers.

BYU followed up that impressive victory with an even more impressive victory at Stanford. BYU has struggled against Stanford the past few years, including a narrow victory in Provo in late February. It appeared to be another grind-it-out, down-to-the-wire match, but BYU scored a season-high 30 points in the first set, barely winning 30–28.

“The boys did a nice job tonight,” McGown said. “We hung in there when times got tough in the first set and kept battling. That’s been the story of this team; we keep battling and find ways to win.”

The Cougars didn’t allow for the match to get close after that. They dominated the second set 25–18 before pulling away in the third set and winning 25–21.

“Stanford is a wonderful team with great players and is well-coached,” McGown said. “For us to win in three at Stanford is pretty remarkable. We went in there with focus and energy.”

Sander, Young and Ben Patch all recorded double-digit kills for the Cougars, who finished their regular season schedule with a 20–3 conference record.

BYU returns home this week to host the MPSF Conference tournament. BYU hosts Hawaii on Saturday, April 20 at 7 p.m. A victory would advance BYU to the semi-finals, where the team would host the winner of the UCLA–Pepperdine match. BYU will remain at home throughout the conference tournament for every match it plays. The game on Saturday will be aired on BYUtv.

 

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