The BYU men’s volleyball team dominated the MPSF tournament, sweeping all opponents en route to BYU’s second consecutive MPSF title on Saturday, April 26, at the Smith Fieldhouse.
BYU senior outside hitter Taylor Sander played his first match at BYU in front of a packed Smith Fieldhouse, and he finished this last match at the Smith Fieldhouse with more than 4,300 fans in attendance.
“The first match was packed and the last match was packed,” Sander said in gratitude of the Cougar fan base at home. Sander led BYU with 15 kills during the championship game.
“We controlled the match from the service line,” said BYU head coach Chris McGown of his championship team, which did not drop a set throughout the entire 2014 MPSF tournament. “I kept feeling like, ‘Hey, we got this.’ The guys were pretty loose. They were dialed in into the game plan.”
Stanford could not win a single set despite riding a 13-game winning streak into the championship game.
“I thought we had a good season this year. We just came up a little short,” said Stanford head coach John Kosty.
Stanford senior outside hitter Steve Irvin recognized the challenges presented by Sander’s playing ability.
“He’s pretty phenomenal,” Irvin said of Sander. “We just hoped to slow him down.”
Sander added two aces tying the BYU single-season record (51) in the rally-scoring era to his 15 kills. Setter Robbie Sutton chipped in 29 assists and middle blocker Devin Young contributed six kills, an ace and a match-high four block assists. All three Cougars were named to the all-tournament team with Sander named the MPSF tournament MVP.
No other team in MPSF history has taken the tournament title in three straight sweeps other than the 1997 Stanford team.
BYU won the first set 25-23 hitting .200 percent despite Stanford hitting a higher .300 percent.
The noise from the BYU student section proved to be disruptive as the Stanford Cardinals struggled from the service line, acquiring eight service errors versus the three service errors from the Cougars. This set the pace for the rest of the night.
The Cougars attack percentage improved to .297 percent in the second set behind Sander’s seven kills. The Cardinals hit .278 losing the set 25-22.
BYU completed the sweep winning the third set 25-22 hitting .281 percent compared to Stanford’s .250 percent with only three service errors.
The Cardinals gave up the final point due to a net violation in attempt to send the ball straight down on the Cougar’s half of the court.
The Cougars earned an automatic berth to the NCAA tournament in Chicago and now wait for their seeding, which will be announced Sunday at 11 a.m. EDT. The selection show can be streamed live at NCAA.com.