Despite career nights from Matt Underwood and Jaylen Reyes, No. 4 BYU men's volleyball fell to Stanford in a four-set (25-21, 24-26, 26-24, 25-18) battle during a Saturday night rematch at Maples Pavilion.
"I thought we played better tonight," BYU head coach Chris McGown said. "We were a little bit more dialed in on Stanford. When it came time to make little plays here and there, they made them. It was a tight match. Matt kept us in the match tonight offensively and Jaylen has just been getting better and better as a defender. It's not surprising to see these guys getting career numbers."
Underwood led the Cougars with a career-high 18 kills on a .300 clip to go along with four digs. Reyes added a career-high 18 digs while Tyler Heap contributed 27 assists. Joseph Grosh collected a team-high eight blocks. Jake Langlois added 12 digs and nine kills while Brenden Sander contributed 11 kills, five digs and four blocks.
BYU (13-5, 10-4 Mountain Pacific Sports Federation) got the first point of set one from a Sander kill. Stanford (8-11, 5-8 MPSF) then rallied with four-consecutive points to take a 5-3 advantage. The two teams traded points from there until a kill from Madison Hayden put the Cardinal up by four, 12-8, forcing McGown to take his first timeout. A solo block from Grosh kept the Cougars within reach, down 17-13, before Stanford took a timeout up 19-15. BYU ended the set on a 4-2 run, but it proved to be too late as the Cardinal took the set, 25-21.
The Cougars scored the first four points of the second set with help from a trio of consecutive Stanford errors. The Cardinal brought itself back within a point at 6-5 after three-straight points, but BYU scored the next two to stay ahead with an 8-5 advantage. Stanford was able to tie the set at nine apiece, but the Cougars kept their momentum with a 6-2 rally to go back up, 15-11. After a media timeout, the Cardinal used a 4-1 run of its own to come back within a point at 16-15, forcing a BYU timeout. The scoring went back and forth from there as Stanford took a timeout down two at 20-18. An Underwood kill gave BYU its second set point at 25-24 before he finished things off with another kill to take the close set, 26-24.
The Cardinal jumped out to a 5-2 advantage early in the third set with help from several Cougar attack errors. BYU took its first timeout of the set down four at 10-6, but the Cougars fought back as a block from Sander and Grosh brought their team within a pair at 12-10. Another block from the duo tied the score at 12-all, and an Underwood kill gave BYU its first lead of the set at 13-12. The Cougars slowly began to take a sizeable lead in the set as another Underwood kill put BYU up by five at 20-15. A 3-1 Stanford run brought it back with three at 22-19, forcing a Cougar timeout. Despite having set point at 24-23, a trio of straight solo blocks from three separate players gave the Cardinal the set, 26-24.
Price Jarman was in the starting lineup to begin the fourth set and gave BYU its first point of the set with a kill. Consecutive service aces from Hayden gave Stanford an early 5-4 advantage, but the Cougars countered with a 4-0 run to retake the lead at 9-7. The Cardinal followed with a 5-0 rally of their own to go back up with a 12-9 advantage. Another 4-1 rally from Stanford, paced by three kills from Hayden, extended its lead to five at 16-11. A Grosh kill brought BYU back within four at 19-15, but two more points ensued from the Cardinal as they took a 21-15 advantage. The Cougars struggled to find their offensive rhythm as Stanford took the set and match with a 25-18 win.
The Cougars have a bye next week before hitting the road again at Pepperdine on Friday, March 20 at 7 p.m. PDT. Links to live stats and a video feed can be found on the BYU men's volleyball schedule page.
Royce Hinton is the men's and women's volleyball sports information director for BYU Athletic Communications.