BYU volleyball swept the Ball State University Cardinals (25-21, 25-23, 25-19) Saturday in the second night of the teams’ competition.
Opposite hitter Matt Underwood led the team with 11 kills, while Brenden Sander and Price Jarman added nine and seven kills respectively.
“Tonight’s match, they were significantly better at serving it in and making us play,” BYU head coach Chris McGown said. “They got us out of system, and we had to take some tough swings against a pretty good block.”
Set one stayed tight as the Cougars and Cardinals passed the lead back and forth multiple times. Underwood’s six kills and a three-block streak from Jake Langlois, Michael Hatch and Underwood helped BYU get ahead 17-14. Errors from both teams kept the score close, and Ball State even battled to tie it up 21-21. But Hatch’s kill, a triple block and a final missed serve by the Cardinals sealed the Cougar set win 25-21.
It looked like BYU would take off with a lead after a block from Jarman and an ace from Sander put them up 3-0 at the start of the second set, but Ball State didn’t give in. Set two continued much like the first as the teams matched scores, 15-15. Sander’s and Underwood’s kills, along with another BYU ace from Kiril Meretev, kept the Cougars in it, but the Cardinals eventually took a 22-21 lead. Kills from Meretev, Sander and setter Robbie Sutton turned it around, and the Cougars took set two 25-23.
BYU never let Ball State stay close in set three. Jarman, Meretev and Sander dominated the offense while Hatch and Carson Heninger helped out with blocks to get up 13-7. However, BYU’s missed serves and other errors kept giving the Cardinals chances to shrink the deficit to 16-14. But the Cougars again took off with kills from Sander and Jarman to get ahead 20-15. Sander, Meretev and Heninger each added another kill and BYU won the final set 25-19.
The Cardinals lost both matches of the weekend’s double header, but they never made it easy for BYU.
“They’re a good team and we’re not used to playing them,” Jarman said. “We had to keep fighting the whole time.”
Men’s volleyball competes again next week in a double header against Stanford University before traveling to Pepperdine University. The team won’t return for another home match until March 27.