BYU alums Sander, Wall win bronze in Rio

Jaren Wilkey/BYU
Taylor Sander rises to spike a ball during his career at BYU. Sander helped the U.S. men’s national team win bronze in Rio. (BYU Photo)

Former BYU volleyball stars and alums Taylor Sander and Mike Wall won bronze medals at the 2016 summer Olympic games in Rio. Sander was a player and Wall was a coach. Each was participating in his first Olympics.

Sander played at BYU from 2011 to 2014 and was a three-time AVCA All-American and won the MPSF Player of the Year award in back-to-back seasons (2013 and 2014). He also led the Cougars to consecutive NCAA tournament appearances, losing in the finals in 2013 and the semifinals in 2014.

Sander was named to the Olympic team roster in June after helping the U.S. team win the 2015 FIVB World Cup — a win that qualified the team for the Olympics.

Wall played in Provo from 1999-02, winning two national championships with the Cougars (1999 and 2001). Wall was a back-to-back All-AVCA First Team selection in 2001 and 2002 and played volleyball professionally overseas after graduating.

He took an assistant coaching position at Utah in 2005 and was then an assistant on the Arizona State women’s team from 2006-08.

In 2013 he was named an assistant to the U.S. national team.

At the time of Wall’s hiring, U.S. head coach John Speraw described Wall as being an “invaluable” addition to the team due to his “high-level experience in both volleyball and  business.”

The U.S. defeated Russia in five sets to take a third-place finish. Sander was the team’s third-leading scorer, finishing the match with 17 points.

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