We ended up in some tight sets tonight, but we were able to close and finish in all of them. That was really encouraging. —Chris McGown
Matt Underwood led No. 6 BYU men's volleyball past No. 13 Cal State Northridge for a second-straight match in a sweep (26-24, 25-23, 25-22) Saturday night at the Matadome.
"I told the guys after the match that I thought this week was big for us," BYU head coach Chris McGown said. "Coming in and grinding out a couple of good wins on the road is the stuff that good teams go out and do. I like the way that we did it. We ended up in some tight sets tonight, but we were able to close and finish in all of them. That was really encouraging."
Underwood led the Cougars with 17 kills, one shy of a career high, to go along with a .500 clip. Tyler Heap added 32 assists while Jaylen Reyes chipped in 10 digs. Michael Hatch led the blocking effort with six total. Kiril Meretev added double-digit kills with 10 while Brenden Sander added eight in the win.
A pair of Underwood kills helped BYU (15-9, 12-8 Mountain Pacific Sports Federation) jump out to an early 4-2 advantage in the first set. CSUN (10-17, 7-14 MPSF) then rallied with a 4-1 run to take a 7-6 lead of its own. The set went back and forth from there as nine ties ensued before a Matador service error put the Cougars back up by two at 19-17. Another pair of critical service errors from CSUN gave BYU two set points, and a Matador attack error gave the Cougars the closely contested set, 26-24.
CSUN took a 3-1 lead out of the gate in the second set before consecutive Underwood kills knotted things up at three apiece. The Matadors scored the next four-straight points after a trio of BYU miscues forced a McGown timeout with the Cougars down 7-3. BYU rallied from five points down as a Sander kill brought the Cougars within two at 10-8. Meretev then tied the score at 13-all with a kill. BYU stayed within a pair of points until a CSUN trio block gave the Matadors an 18-15 edge. The Cougars rallied to tie the set at 23 following another Meretev kill, forcing a timeout from CSUN. BYU scored the next two points from Hatch and Meretev blocks to take another close set, 25-23.
After starting the third set down two, the Cougars went on a 4-0 run, capped off by a Sander kill, to take a 5-3 lead. The Matadors kept the set close, however, as the set was tied from points six to 10 before an ace put them up by two, 12-10. An Underwood kill helped BYU go back on top 15-14 before consecutive CSUN attack errors gave the Cougars a 19-17 advantage late in the set. Back-to-back Underwood kills put BYU up by three, 21-18, and the Cougars maintained the lead to complete the sweep, 25-22, after a Sander kill.
BYU returns home Friday for the first of a pair of matchups against No. 1 Hawai'i. The match, which begins at 7 p.m. MDT, will be broadcast live on BYUtv and simulcast on BYU Radio. 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.