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The No. 1 BYU men’s volleyball team traded matches with No. 11 Stanford this weekend after both matches ended in five grueling sets. Stanford proved to be a true test for BYU after the Cougars easily handled their first two games of the season.
Stanford came out strong to start Friday’s game and dominated the first set 25-18. The Cougars then responded and won the second set 19-25. BYU won the third set 25-23 and Stanford won the fourth set 25-23. It was still anyone’s game when the fifth set started. Simple errors allowed the Cardinal to open up a lead that BYU could not overcome, allowing Stanford to win the match.
“There were good moments for us, but we just did not play well when we needed to play well. That’s the bottom line … you can’t miss so many serves while you’re trying to win. We let them out, we let them off the hook,” said BYU head coach Shawn Olmstead.
The Cougars shook off their loss and came re-focused and ready to play again on Saturday, but Stanford came out fixed on another win. The Cardinal dominated the Cougars 25-16 in the first set. BYU showed tremendous strength as they responded by winning the second set 25-23. BYU won the third set 25-21 despite multiple serving errors and dropped a close fourth set 22-25.
The Cougars found their leadership in Sophomore Ben Patch in the fifth set, as he seemingly decided to take over the game. Patch fueled the energy of his team, and the 5,000 fans in attendance, with two kills to put the Cougars up 14-10. Patch pumped up the crowd with a yell after each kill. The Cougars finally finished off the Cardinal with a kill by Sophomore Price Jarman.
“All credit to Stanford. They didn’t back down. They played really really good, they still had great energy so props to them,” said Olmstead.
Patch finished the night with 25 kills, his third game this season with over 20.
“We wanted to win, but we wanted to win doing it the right way. Stanford is great, but we don’t just want to compare ourselves to them,” said Patch. “Last night we had a lot of high energy and a lot of low lows. Tonight we were very even and steady throughout the whole match. We didn’t get anxious or frustrated, we just were consistent and level compared to last night.”