Sophomore opposite Ben Patch helped No. 3 BYU men's volleyball past UC San Diego in three sets (25-19, 25-13, 25-21) Saturday night at RIMAC Arena to complete the series sweep.
"I liked the focus and effort tonight," BYU head coach Shawn Olmstead said. "Our serving was strong and really kept them out of system most of the night. We were also able to defend really well."
Patch led the Cougars with 14 kills while hitting at a .600 clip. Erik Sikes added a team-high nine digs, and Michael Hatch contributed four blocks in the defensive effort. Leo Durkin collected 31 assists and seven digs, while Brenden Sander chipped in 12 kills and six digs in the win.
Sander got the first kill of the night for BYU (19-3, 15-3 Mountain Pacific Sports Federation) as the Cougars jumped out to a 5-2 advantage over UC San Diego (5-19, 0-18 MPSF) to start the first set. Jake Langlois collected back-to-back aces to increase the lead at five at 10-5, and a Patch kill extended the advantage at 15-8. Tim Dobbert subbed in and collected a kill on his first attempt to maintain BYU's lead at 19-11, before the Tritons followed with a 5-2 run to come back within four at 21-17. Robbie Sutton then ended the set 25-19 for the Cougars with a dump kill.
A Hatch ace helped BYU to a 5-2 lead early on in the second set. UC San Diego rallied back to tie the set at 6-all after getting into an offensive rhythm. The Tritons then took a timeout, however, after the Cougars went on a 5-1 run to go back up 11-7. Kills from Sander and Langlois extended the lead at 17-10, and Kiril Meretev's first kill of the night extended the advantage to double digits at 22-12. Another Sander kill then quickly ended the set 25-13.
The two teams were tied at every point to start the third set until back-to-back Patch kills gave BYU a 9-7 lead. UC San Diego countered with a 5-2 run to take a 12-11 edge before the Cougars turned things around as another Hatch ace brought the score to 17-13 for BYU. An overpass kill for Sander forced a Triton timeout with the Cougars up 20-16 before a final Sander kill ended the set and match 25-21 in BYU's favor.
The Cougars stay on the road next week traveling to No. 2 UCLA for a series beginning Friday, April 1, at 8 p.m. PDT. The match will be broadcast live on Pac-12 Los Angeles. 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.