BYU volleyball takes 3-1 win over California Baptist

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Ari Davis
Brenden Sander, Matt Underwood and Jaylen Reyes celebrate after winning a point in their game against Cal Baptist. (Ari Davis)

Brenden Sander and Joe Grosh led BYU volleyball to a big 3-1 home win over the California Baptist Lancers Friday night.

Kiril Meretev and Grosh began the first set with back-to-back blocks and a kill, but the Lancers battled back to take a 3-2 lead. Back-to-back kills from Josue Rivera pulled BYU ahead 6-4. A third kill from Rivera and two spikes from Grosh gave the Cougars a 10-8 advantage. The Lancers managed to tie the game 13–13, despite several blocks from Meretev. The score went back and forth for the rest of the set until the Lancers ultimately won, 25-23.

“We didn’t play poorly; it’s just that everything went their way,” head coach Chris McGown said of the first set. “We told our guys, ‘Things are going to start going our way, just keep up the energy.'”

Things did begin to go BYU’s way in the second set as a block and a kill from Brenden Sander helped BYU to an early 4-1 lead. Matt Underwood then dove to keep the ball alive, but Rivera wasn’t able to save the point by jumping over the sideline table. BYU’s three-point lead continued to grow behind five more kills from Sander, and the second set went to the Cougars, 25-18.

The third set started off with a strong block from Michael Hatch to give BYU a 2-1 lead. The Cougars stayed ahead thanks to another kill from Grosh, which extended the advantage 10-4. The Cougars took off from there, leading 18-8 and 21-9. The Cougars won the set 25-10 on Grosh’s eighth kill of the night.

A block from Underwood and Hatch livened up the Smith Fieldhouse at the start of the fourth and final set. California Baptist worked to make a comeback, but BYU stayed in the lead thanks to a kill from freshman Price Jarman. Another Cougar kill from Grosh took BYU one step closer to its 25-18 win, giving BYU the match, 3-1.

“Brenden came in and played great,” McGown said. “That’s the ethic we want in practice. Everybody’s practicing as hard as they can, so when somebody’s having an off night, we feel like we have some depth and somebody can step in and play great in that role.”

Grosh led the night with 12 kills and five blocks, while Sander left his mark in the Smith Fieldhouse for the second week in a row with seven kills, two aces and three blocks.

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