Brenden Sander’s 15 kills led the No.3 Cougars past No. 10 UC Santa Barbara in three sets Saturday night in Provo. BYU improved to 8-2 with the win.
“I’m very impressed with the way our team responded tonight,”said BYU head coach Shawn Olmstead. “It was an unbelievable offensive performance tonight and we did really good defensively as well. I thought we played really well.”
BYU dominated the game from start to finish with an average hitting percentage of .485 compared to UCSB’s .703. The Cougars also committed eight fewer errors than the Gauchos.
Sander posted 15 kills along with six blocks and five digs. The Cougars’ Ben Patch and Jake Langlois each contributed 11 kills in the balanced team effort. Sophomores Price Jarmon and Leo Durkin added seven blocks and 38 assists, respectively.
The Cougars started the first set with an early 9-4 lead forcing UC Santa Barbara to take a timeout. After the break BYU built on their success behind kills from Patch, Langlois and Sander. The Cougars opened up their lead to a 22-15 lead and eventually took the set 25-17.
Both teams committed early errors in the second with the Cougars taking a 7-6 lead. The Gauchos fought to stay close with the Cougars until Patch and Jarman put the Cougars up 19-17. The Cougars won the set 25-23.
UC Santa Barbara stayed within two points of the Cougars for the beginning of the third set at 10-8. The Cougars then took a 17-9 lead behind a 7-0 run fueled by kills from Patch, Sander and Langlois. Sander posted two additional kills to put the Cougars up 19-9. BYU ended the set 25-14 with a .520 hitting percentage compared to the Gauchos’ .148.
“That was a really fun game to be a part of,” Sander said. “All of our hitters hit above .460 and a lot of our guys were over .500 so it was really fun to play with all our teammates.”
The Cougars head on the road again next week to play Princeton next Friday at 7:00 P.M. EST.