Behind Brenden Sander’s season-high 15 kills, BYU defeated No. 10 UC Santa Barbara in straight sets (25-17, 25-23, 25-14) Saturday evening for the second time this weekend.
"I'm very impressed with the way our team responded tonight," BYU head coach Shawn Olmstead said. "It was an unbelievable offense performance tonight and we did really good defensively as well. I thought we played really well."
BYU (8-2, 6-2 Mountain Pacific Sports Federation) hit a .487 clip compared to a .239 clip from UC Santa Barbara (8-5, 4-4 MPSF). The Cougars had 46 kills to the Gauchos' 37 and eight fewer errors on the night.
Sander led all players with 15 kills and also contributed a career-high six blocks and five digs. Ben Patch and Jake Langlois added 11 kills each, and Price Jarman contributed six kills and seven blocks. Michael Hatch had two kills and four blocks, and Leo Durkin collected 38 assists to direct BYU’s winning efforts.
The first set started with a cross-court kill from Sander. BYU and UC Santa Barbara traded points until kills from Jarman, Sander and Langlois put the Cougars up 6-3. Kills from Sander, Patch and Langlois helped BYU keep its five-point lead at 14-9. Another Patch kill and Sander block made it 16-10 for the Cougars, and a 3-1 run extended their lead to seven. The Gauchos responded with consecutive points, but their rally was ended by Patch’s kill, making it 21-14 for BYU. Two service errors by UC Santa Barbara and a block by Jarman and Sander closed out the first set for the Cougars, 25-17.
Errors plagued both teams at the beginning of the second set until a block from Sander and Hatch put the Cougars up 7-6. The Gauchos responded with a pair of points to tie the game at 8-all, and the two teams were neck-and-neck until a kill from Sander and another block from Sander and Hatch gave BYU a 15-13 advantage. UC Santa Barbara responded with two kills to tie the game up at 17-apiece, but kills from Patch and Jarman put the Cougars back up by two. Sander and Patch closed out the set for BYU with kills, as the Cougars took the close set, 25-23.
Sander and Hatch opened the third set for BYU with back-to-back kills to give the Cougars the 2-1 edge early. The Gauchos kept pace with BYU, keeping the score within a couple of points. However, a block from Durkin, Hatch and Sander made it 9-6 in the Cougars' favor. BYU then went on a 7-0 run before UC Santa Barabara collected a kill, putting the Cougars up 17-9. Sander’s two kills gave BYU a double-digit lead at 19-9, and a service error by the Gauchos gave the Cougars the victory, 25-14.
BYU travels to New Jersey to face Princeton on Friday, Feb. 12, at 7:00 p.m. EST, and NJIT on Saturday, Feb. 13, at 7:30 p.m. EST. Live stats to both games can be found on the BYU men’s volleyball page.
Michelle Wood is a public relations student at Brigham Young University with a dream of making it to the Super Bowl one day. While she isn't studying for tests and classes, you can find her in the offices of BYU Athletics, working on media relations.