BYU men’s volleyball gave fans an entertaining game to cheer for as the team beat the Ball State Cardinals 3-1 in Provo Feb. 27.
The No. 4 BYU Cougars started out completely in sync with well-made sets and strong team blocking to take the first few points of the set. Joe Grosh, with back-to-back kills, and Michael Hatch, with an ace to follow, had BYU leading 8-4.
Josue Rivera chased a ball into the crowd but fell short, giving the Cardinals a chance to catch up trailing 9-7. Rivera dove again off the court, managing to save the ball, but Ball State still took the point. The Cougars’ smart setting and refusal to lose gave them the the first set 25-22.
“They worked really hard defensively and kept a lot of balls alive,” BYU coach Chris McGown said. “We weren’t pretty in those first two sets, but we worked really hard.”
The second set began with Phil Fuchs running into the press table to save the ball, giving BYU an early lead. Brenden Sander entered the game and didn’t disappoint, as he helped the Cougars to a 7-2 lead.
The Smith Fieldhouse erupted when Robbie Sutton started off the most exciting rally of the night running out to save the ball. Jake Langlois caught the ball with his foot to keep it going, giving BYU the point. On the next point Langlois dove to keep the ball in play, putting BYU ahead 12-8. The Cougars took the second set 25-19.
“They were not going to quit,” McGown said. “They were going to keep making plays, and good things were going to happen.”
Sander began the third set with an ace, and BYU led 5-2. Ball State started to catch up, but Price Jarman blocked them out as the Cougars held on to their 19-17 lead. BYU fans were on their feet with the set tied 23-23, but key blocks from Grosh sealed the set and the match 3-1.