The Cougar volleyball team took on No. 6 Stanford and won in four sets (25-20, 19-25, 25-23, 25-21) Jan. 24 on its home court holding onto its winning streak from last week’s games.
BYU’s 3-1 win comes after some incredible plays, according to BYU men’s volleyball coach Chris McGown.
“Those are the kind of plays that happen because we’ve been working so hard,” McGown said.
The Cougars played well in the first set with three kills by Carson Heninger, giving BYU a 4-1 start. Josue Rivera and Michael Hatch each contributed a kill and the Cougars’ triple block extended the lead to five. The team finished off the Cardinal with a spread of 25-20.
After an attack error and kills from Brian Cook and Eric Mochalski, Stanford led the second set 3-0. A series of bad passes, a lack of response from Taylor Sander and low energy from the Cougars continued Stanford’s lead, finishing the second set 25-19 in favor of the Cardinal.
“There were some times in the second set that we just let it get loose and that got us in trouble,” McGown said. “Taylor had a stretch through the second where he wasn’t himself and our assistant, Robert, got into him and told him to flip that switch, and he did.”
The Cougars turned it around in the third set after a 7-3 start by Stanford. Rivera’s service ace turned the match into a point-by-point battle until Stanford had four kills and led 16-13. BYU turned it around with three blocks and three big kills by Sander. The Cougars ended the set with Sander’s service ace 25-23.
Sander attributed the change in the Cougars’ momentum to the crowd.
“There’s no crowd like this in the world and I love every minute of it,” he said. “We’re so blessed to have this crowd and so much support.”
The fourth set was back and forth between the Cougars and the Cardinal until two kills by Young and Sander gave BYU an 11-8 lead. A couple Stanford kills tied the teams at 16. BYU came back with a 3-0 run with a huge kill by Sander after a long rally. Rivera came with two kills coming to the match point and Heninger took it home at 25-21.
The Cougars will attempt to continue the unbeaten home streak as they play Pacific Jan. 25 at 7 p.m. MST in the Smith Fieldhouse.