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BYU volleyball: No. 1 BYU tops No. 11 Stanford in five sets

By Kevin Nielsen

For the Deseret News

Published: Saturday, Jan. 16 2016 10:55 p.m. MST

No. 1 BYU men’s volleyball won a hard-fought, five-set victory over No. 11 Stanford on Saturday night, 3-2 (16-25, 25-23, 25-21, 22-25, 15-10), at the Smith Fieldhouse.

An 8-2 run in the fifth set put the finishing touches on a win, a night after faltering in the fifth set. Two five-setters in the opening weekend of conference was something new for first-year head coach Shawn Olmstead.

“It’s not about me, but I’m exhausted,” he said. “Welcome to the MPSF. That’s my welcoming gift.”

Ben Patch set a season high with 25 kills and hit .409 on the night, while Brenden Sander also finished with a season-high 14 kills for the Cougars. Libero Evan Chang set a career high with seven digs, and Leo Durkin set a career high with seven blocks to lead the team along with Michael Hatch’s seven. Durkin added a match-high 47 assists in the win.

In the fifth set, BYU only trailed at 7-6 and 8-7 before tying the game at 8-all. At 9-9, BYU ran off six of the next seven points with a big block followed by two hitting errors and a point from Stanford. Consecutive kills from Patch gave BYU match point, and a kill from Price Jarman finished off the five-set victory.

“It went longer than I thought it would,” Olmstead said. “It just didn’t come easy for us. All credit to Stanford. They didn’t back down and they still had great energy.”

Stanford used a 7-2 run to open a 7-point advantage at 18-11 in the first set and carried that to a 25-16 victory in the set. Gabriel Vega, Kevin Rakestraw and Madison Hayden each had three kills for the Cardinal, while Patch recorded four kills for BYU and Langlois added three.

In the second set, Sander’s first kill of the night started a 4-0 run that gave BYU a 15-11 advantage heading into a timeout. Stanford tied it at 18-all before a service error and a Patch ace put BYU back up two at 20-18. Two kills from Sander put BYU up 23-19, and Sander closed out the set with another kill to give BYU the equalizing 25-23 second set win. Sander finished with four kills in the set, while Patch and Langlois added three each. Vega had four kills for the Cardinal.

In the third, a 4-0 run for BYU keyed by a Patch kill and a Jarman ace gave BYU a 17-12 advantage and forced a Stanford timeout. Two kills down the stretch by Tim Dobbert kept Stanford at bay for a 25-21 victory. Patch recorded seven kills in the third set, while Sander added four in BYU’s first eight points of the set.

Stanford opened up a tight fourth set with a 4-0 run to take a 20-16 advantage. BYU scored three straight late on a block and a kill from Sander but couldn’t get closer than 24-22 before the Cardinal tied the match with a 25-22 win. Patch had eight kills in the fourth set and Sander added another four.

BYU takes to the road for matches against Long Beach State next weekend. The first match starts at 7 p.m. PST, on Friday, Jan. 22.

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