PROVO — A night after Ben Patch scored a team-high 21 kills in a four-set win over Loyola-Chicago, BYU men’s volleyball coach Shawn Olmstead decided to sit the sophomore for Saturday’s match against George Mason.
The reason provided was simple: “Because we got Tim Dobbert. And Tim did great,” Olmstead said.
Indeed, Dobbert led the way, scoring a team-high 13 kills while adding eight kills and eight digs to lead the Cougars past the Patriots in four sets (25-17, 25-17, 29-31, 25-12.)
Dobbert filled in admirably for Patch in every way, proving dominant at the net, with his serve and in all other aspects of his game.
The good news for Olmstead is it wasn't just Dobbert playing at a high level. Jake Langlois contributed 12 kills, Brendan Sander nine and Price Jarman six. In the middle of it all was setter Leo Durkin, who notced 32 assists.
“Leo had our offense going all over the place,” Olmstead said. “Front row, back row — kept Tim involved and our middles were a lot better than yesterday. So really, really balanced and that’s a credit to our setter and our passers. Their ball-control was really good.”
As for the middle blockers, they were led by Michael Hatch and his nine blocks and three kills. Overall the Cougars outblocked the Patriots 16-7.5 while outhitting them .356 to .132.
As the final score would indicate, Olmstead's team put on a clinic during the first, second and fourth sets, but ran into some trouble in the third. Leading narrowly most of the way in that third set, George Mason was able to make a run toward the end and narrowly prevent a straight set loss.
“There was just a couple of mistakes down the stretch there in the third set,” Olmstead said. “We had some opportunities to close it out completely, but made some mistakes.”
Seeing that it's very early in the year, Olmstead plans to use Saturday's third set play as a learning tool moving forward.
“It’s growing pains,” Olmstead said. “We talked about it, we’ll watch it and we’ll try to figure out what we’re doing in those moments and it’s kind of part of the whole thing.”
The good news was the players responded resoundingly in the fourth set. The Cougars quickly forged an 8-3 before extending the lead to 15-6 midway through as everything that seemingly went wrong in the third went right, and then some, in the fourth.
With the win BYU improves to 2-0 on the year and will next host Stanford this coming weekend. In those matches Olmstead may again sit some notable contributors as a reflection of the great depth enjoyed on this year's squad.
“It’s always good, but it’s hard,” Olmstead said about the depth. “I told the guys that it’s hard. I spent a lot of time telling the team that it’s hard. I want everybody to play and these guys are competing. They’re all capable of playing — every guy on this squad, so that’s hard. But that’s what good teams have to battle with.”