BYU volleyball speeds past UC Irvine in just three set matches

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It was lights out for UC Irvine, a championship team that was unable to survive past three sets.

The Cougars were more than confident, blocking everything the Anteaters punched toward them. Taylor Sander was the star of the night with 19 kills, 6-foot-10-inch freshman Tim Dobbert close behind with 10 kills and a career-high four blocks.

“We have watched film and know where they like to hit. It was a great opportunity for us to take advantage of their blind spots,” Dobbert said.

Taylor Sanders spikes the ball over the net during the game against UC Irvine. Photo by Ari Davis.
Taylor Sanders spikes the ball over the net during the game against UC Irvine. (Photo by Ari Davis)

In the beginning, BYU struggled just a bit, managing to fly back into it winning the set 25-22. The next set was a battle until the Cougars closed the match with 17 kills as opposed to the Anteaters only making 12. BYU won again, 25-22.

The third set BYU completely dominated, gaining a significant lead over the Anteaters after they tied it up 11-11. The Anteaters would not see a lead again, the Cougars taking it 25-17.

The history between BYU and UC Irvine is that of a bitter rivalry, BYU falling to the Anteaters in the 2013 National Championship. This time around BYU has been getting its revenge on UC Irvine, beating it earlier this season at Irvine. Still, the Anteaters are a hard team to matchup against.

“They are a physical team in every position,” said head coach Chris McGown. “(UC Irvine) is a really good team, and I’m sure we will see them down the road.”

One of the keys attributed to BYU’s win was playing in front of its home crowd, the fans very much alive and engaged throughout the entire match. UC Irvine struggled in the Smith Fieldhouse, the travel time possibly detrimental to the team’s performance.

“I think to some extent they were a little bit road weary; the travel caught up to them a bit,” McGown said. “It’s really nice to be at home.”

Tomorrow night the Cougars take on UC San Diego in the Smith Fieldhouse at 7 p.m.

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