BYU volleyball beat the Long Beach State University 49ers in a hard-fought 3-1 victory in the Smith Fieldhouse Saturday night.
The first set started off with smart blocking from Jake Langlois, Joe Grosh and Tyler Heap, giving the Cougars the lead over the 49ers. The Cougars quickly gave up their 12-9 lead with several errors, allowing Long Beach State to tie the set 14-14. BYU reclaimed the lead 23-21 in a tough rally that had both teams diving to the floor. The Cougars had two chances to take the match, but LBSU tied it up again both times and ultimately took the first set 28-26.
“It was really tough to end a rally,” head coach Chris McGown said. “It was probably the best team we’ve faced defensively all season.”
LBSU made the Cougars fight for the lead in the second set, but kills from Michael Hatch and Brenden Sander secured an 8-5 lead. Sander brought the fans at the Fieldhouse to their feet with 15 kills and two aces for the night. BYU held on to the lead the entire set, despite strong kills from the 49ers. A service error from LBSU gave BYU the second set 25-23.
Sander’s second ace started the third set off. The Cougars took the lead 9-8 as LBSU hit the ball out attempting to block a kill from Robbie Sutton. Langlois and Underwood filled the game with strong kills and smart setting that helped BYU hold on to the lead for the rest of the set. Sutton’s third block of the night brought the Cougars to the set point, which they won, taking the match 25-18.
The Cougars had LBSU working hard to stay in the game as BYU led 10-8 in the fourth set. They kept the score in their favor as Langlois and Sander continued kills despite good sets from LBSU. The crowd was the loudest when LBSU kept surprising the Cougars as they refused to let the ball touch the ground in a rally toward the end of the final set. BYU kept swinging and took the point to make the score 23-20. The Cougars then won the set 25-22 and the match 3-1.
“It was a fun game to be a part of,” McGown said. “It was really nice to come out on the winning side of that rally towards the end.”