Ben Patch and No. 3 BYU men’s volleyball rallied past No. 6 Lewis in three sets (27-25, 27-25, 25-22) Friday night at Neil Carey Arena to start the 2017 season.
“Tonight was a great team effort to get the season going,” BYU head coach Shawn Olmstead said. “Lewis is a great program, and I was happy with how the team navigated through some ups and downs of the opener.”
Patch led the Cougars with 17 kills on a .556 clip. Leo Durkin set the team with 35 assists while adding three blocks. Jake Langlois added 12 kills and Brenden Sander had three aces in the win. Mitchel Worthington collected six digs in his first career start as a Cougar.
Lewis (0-1) got off to a quick 6-2 lead over BYU (1-0), collecting all its first points from Cougar miscues. A Sander kill capped off a 4-2 BYU rally, which got it back within two, trailing 8-6. A pair of Patch kills and a Langlois service ace tied things up at 12-apiece, and a Flyer attack error gave the Cougars their first lead of the night at 15-14. Lewis regained the lead at 20-17 after a three-point run, forcing Olmstead to take a timeout. BYU fought back to take set point at 24-23, but the Flyers rallied to a 25-24 set point. The Cougars scored the next three points, though, as a pair of Sander aces ended the close set for BYU, 27-25.
Back-to-back Price Jarman blocks helped BYU on a 6-1 run to take a 7-3 advantage at the start of the second set. Lewis followed with a 6-2 run to even the score at 9-9. A Durkin block kept the Cougars ahead 15-12, and a Sander kill increased the lead to four, 19-15. Patch scored BYU’s next three points from kills, extending the advantage at 22-17 before the Flyers rallied with a 5-1 run to tie things up again at 24-all. The Cougars then won the set 27-25 after two Lewis errors.
The Flyers jumped out to a 9-5 lead in the third set, prompting a BYU timeout. Following the break, the Cougars used a 9-2 run, capped off by a Patch kill, to take a 14-11 advantage. Lewis then came back to take a 17-16 lead before another Patch kill put BYU back out front, 19-17. Consecutive Langlois kills brought the Cougars ahead 23-20 before another Langlois kill ended the set 25-22, completing the sweep.
The Cougars stay in Illinois for their next match, facing Loyola-Chicago on Saturday, Jan. 7, at 7 p.m. CST. The match will be streamed live on ESPN3. Links to live stats 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.