BYU volleyball defeats No. 1 Long Beach

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Momentum from Friday’s win carried the BYU Men’s Volleyball team to another victory against No. 1 Long Beach. Winning in four sets (25-20, 23-25, 25-20, 25-20), the Cougars walked away setting new season and career highs.

Taylor Sander hit season highs in both digs and kills, while Tyler Heap hit career highs in digs, assists and blocks.

“They were the number-one team in the nation, and you have to show up and play big against those kind of teams,” Sander said. “Our team played at such a high level, and they picked me up and made me step up my game.”

Taylor Sander jumps to spike the ball over the net in Saturday's win over Long Beach. Photo by Maddi Dayton.
Taylor Sander jumps to spike the ball over the net in Saturday’s win over Long Beach. (Photo by Maddi Dayton)

After losing two games away, the Cougars are back on the rise with a weekend of wins and the Smith Fieldhouse to thank.

“It’s a whole different deal here at home. You can just feel it. The guys had really great energy,” said coach Chris McGown. “If we can consistently bring that level of energy and enthusiasm to a match I’d really like where we could be.”

The Cougars hope to maintain their momentum in the coming matches and think this match could help boost their confidence to the right level.

“That was an important match for us. We’ve been down from the weekend before,” McGown said. “But seeing that we have the potential to put up numbers like this and play matches like this, the team has come together and the chemistry is starting to evolve. Our play has cleaned way, way up from last week.”

BYU has seen improvements this week in contrast to last, but there’s still some work for the Cougars to do.

“We still need to find our identity,” Sander said. “But I think winning this big match helped with that.”

The Cougars led the way through the whole first set. Tyler Heap found himself shoeless at one point, but it didn’t stop the team from winning the point. Momentum dropped in the second. The Cougars trailed almost the whole set until it was crunch time. The Cougars fought back hard, but in the end Long Beach took the win in the second set.

The third was a whole different deal. BYU got its momentum back and led the entire set to a win. Momentum followed them through to the fourth set, and the Cougars walked away with a weekend of wins.

“We were awesome playing as a group today,” said outside hitter Josue Rivera. “When we play together, it’s the best.”

The Cougars are hopeful for what the outcome of this weekend will mean for their future matches.

“It’s going to be huge,” Rivera said. “We’re all excited. We’re pumped. We just need to keep playing hard like we did today and keeping persuading everyone that we’re number one.”

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