PROVO A glass-half-full person might look at Friday night's 3-1 victory and .426 team hitting percentage posted by the top-ranked BYU men's volleyball team against Cal-Baptist as an impressive offensive display.
But for the glass-half-empty person, the Cougars' home-opener lacked defense for much of the four-game affair.
BYU improved to 6-0 on the season with the 30-25, 23-30, 30-19, 30-25 win before a Smith Fieldhouse crowd of 3,566, with game percentages of .500, .444, .500 and .290.
Meanwhile, the Lancers (2-2) the NAIA's top-ranked squad and four-time defending champion hit a respectable .294, including a scorching .692 in the second game.
Neither team put up much of a resistance at the net. For example, through the first two-plus games, the Cougars logged the same amount of blocks one as its football counterpart did in last month's Las Vegas Bowl.
"It was like watching the Suns and the Nuggets play not a whole lot of defense," said BYU interim head coach Shawn Patchell, using an NBA analogy. "That's uncharacteristic for BYU ... we take pride in our defense."
After splitting the first two games, BYU broke open the third game and the match with the complete package kills and blocks and service aces, oh my! Outside hitter Ivan Perez led BYU with 20 kills and a .500 percentage, with middle blocker Trent Sorensen adding 12 kills (.526) and outside arms Jonathan Charette and Andrew Stewart contributing 10 kills each. All of BYU's starting hitters posted percentages of .353 or better.
Besides the .426 percentage, BYU finished with four aces against 21 service errors and 8.5 total blocks, with Sorensen in on a team-high four..
Donald Baliaba led CBU with 26 kills, while Yukai Sun added 12.
In the opening game, BYU led 15-13 at mid-point en route to the final five-point margin, with Perez rifling the game-winning kill off the forehead of a would-be blocker.
Cal-Baptist broke open the second, as BYU's impressive .444 percentage was still some .250 points below the Lancers' .692.
Keying BYU's mid-game surge in the third game was back-to-back combo blocks by Sorensen and Charette and a pair of Cougar aces, as BYU hit .500 for the second time and logged 4.5 total blocks.
Despite cruising to leads of seven and eight points and hitting nearly ..600 early in the fourth, the Cougars couldn't easily close out the game and match, settling for a .333 percentage and 30-25 score.The two teams square off again tonight in the Smith Fieldhouse.
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