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BYU volleyball: strong team effort helps BYU sweep Pacific

By Spencer Shamo

For the Deseret News

Published: Saturday, Jan. 25 2014 10:19 p.m. MST

BYU set team season highs for blocks and hitting percentage on the way to defeating Pacific in straight sets (25-19, 25-20, 25-19) Saturday night in the Smith Fieldhouse.

The Cougars (6-2, 6-0 MPSF) finished with 16 blocks and hit .377 on the night.

“I thought we played some really clean volleyball tonight,” BYU head coach Chris McGown said. “That’s not always easy when we’ve got different guys coming off the bench to maintain that cohesion and energy. I thought the guys that came in played great, and overall it was really nice night statistically.”

Taylor Sander led the Cougars with 12 kills and a season-high .706 hit clip after going the whole match without an attack error. Devin Young tied his season high of eight blocks, and Joseph Grosh had a career-high six blocks.

“We thought we would block well against these teams because of our size advantage,” McGown said. “So we knew that if we served well and got them into some trouble then stuck to some consistent-principled blocking moves that we’d be in good shape to have some balls come our way, and they did."

The first set proved to be a battle, with the teams trading points to a 16-all tie. The largest lead by either team during the stretch was two points. With the Tigers (1-6, 0-4 MPSF) clinging to an 18-17 lead, the Cougars went on an 8-1 run to pull ahead and take the set, 25-18. Grosh was key for the BYU defense during the run, tallying three blocks and adding a kill for the set point.

With BYU leading the second set 8-7, Sander propelled a 6-0 run with three kills. However, Pacific would rally late in the set, scoring five straight to close within one at 18-17. A service error and a Sander block gave the momentum back to the Cougars as they went on to take the second set, 25-20.

BYU got off to a strong start in the third set, taking a 6-2 lead. It then used a 4-0 run to increase its lead to seven at 11-4. The Cougars never trailed in the set and cruised to the sweep with a 25-19 set victory.

BYU will hit the road for a Friday match against Pepperdine at 7 p.m. PST. The Cougars then head to Los Angeles to take on USC on Saturday at 5 p.m. PST.

Spencer Shamo is a Communications major at BYU and the BYU softball SID.

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