The Cougars fell to Pepperdine in a close five-set match (19-25, 25-17, 21-25, 28-26, 11-15), ending their winning streak at the Wave’s home court.
“I just thought we weren’t at our best tonight but still managed to make a match out of it,” said BYU head coach Chris McGown. “We battled really hard and played with a lot of energy.”
The Cougars were led by Taylor Sander with 19 kills, eight digs and a season-best six blocks. Carson Heninger had 17 kills, tying his career high. Tyler Heap had 50 assists, and Devin Young led the Cougars with eight blocks, his season best.
The fourth set became the climax of the game as a series of ties and point-by-point rallies set the Cougars neck and neck against the Waves at 18-18. Pepperdine led 2-1 in the overall score, and the Cougars needed the win to stay in the game. After four set-points, Heninger finished the set with a kill at 28-26.
BYU opened the final set with a kill by Joe Grosh. After a kill and service ace by Sander and a kill by Heninger, the Cougars led the Waves 6-3. Pepperdine matched the Cougars point by point until two kills each by Josh Taylor and Kalmbach gave Pepperdine a 14-11 lead. A kill by Nikola Antonijevic finished the match with a 15-11 win..
“They’re good at home. They can serve well, and they do a lot of nice things,” McGown said.
Pepperdine led the first set with a kill by Parker Kalmach. A series of solid blocks and kills gave Pepperdine the lead, and the Waves took the win at 25-19.
The second set was dominated by BYU, with a lead at 10-7. Sander contributed a big kill at 16-12, and Josue Rivera closed the set with a kill.
Pepperdine took the lead in the third set at 3-1. Tied at four, the Waves had a 4-0 run and kept momentum through the set. A service ace by Young and a block by Michael Hatch and Sander narrowed the Wave’s lead, but Pepperdine kept charge and finished strong at 25-21.
The Waves sailed to a 3-2 victory over BYU.
The Cougars take on No. 5 USC Saturday at 5 p.m., PST.