No. 6 BYU (6-4) men's volleyball swept No. 16 UC Santa Barbara (25-23, 25-19, 25-20) in the second match of the series Saturday night at the Smith Fieldhouse.
"I just felt like we were more engaged from the start," BYU head coach Shawn Olmstead said. "I was open last night in saying that I felt like we were waiting for things to happen, and tonight we went out and created things a little more, so I was happy with that. I thought we made better decisions overall."
Gabi Garcia Fernandez and Brenden Sander led the team in kills with 18 and 10, respectively. Freshman Zach Hendrickson had a career-high 10 digs in the Cougars' victory, and sophomore Andrew Lincoln earned a career-high hitting percentage with a .818 clip.
Sander opened the first set of the match with a big kill to put the Cougars (6-4) on the board first. The Gauchos (4-4) answered right back with a kill of their own as the two teams began trading points back and forth. BYU gained momentum and widened the gap, going on a 4-0 run that forced UC Santa Barbara to call timeout, trailing 9-5. Following the break, the Gauchos robbed the momentum and scored four-straight points to tie the set up at 9-9. UC Santa Barbara eventually took the lead at 21-19 from a kill by Keenan Sanders, but Fernandez answered with a kill of his own to cut the lead to one. After falling behind 22-20, the Cougars delivered three-straight points to gain a 23-22 edge. The Gauchos tied it up again at 23-all after a timeout, but BYU answered with two kills to take the first set, 25-23.
BYU scored the first two points of the second set and maintained the lead for the remainder of the set. UC Santa Barbara kept the score within reach until a couple of kills from Sander gave the Cougars a 15-11 advantage. The Gauchos fought to regain ground in the set, but two more kills from Fernandez helped solidify BYU's lead at 22-17. Fernandez, who had seven kills in the set, finished off the set with a hard-hit kill from the far-right side of the court to give the Cougars the win at 25-19 and a 2-0 lead.
In the final set of the night, UC Santa Barbara fought to avoid the sweep, keeping the set close. After a wild ball ricocheted off the ceiling, the Cougars maintained their composure to get a big team block from Sander and Price Jarman to go up 12-10. UC Santa Barbara then scored three-straight points to take its first lead since the second set. Fernandez helped tie the set back up after he saved a point with a diving dig and finished the play with a kill to make it 13-13. The score stayed tight, but Jarman delivered an ace for the Cougars to force a Gaucho timeout and go up 21-19. BYU did not look back from that ace and won the final set, 25-20, to complete the three-set sweep.
The Cougars next travel to La Jolla, California, to take on UC San Diego on Thursday, Feb. 8, at 6 p.m. PST. The game will be broadcast on UCSD Tritons TV, and live stats can be found on the team's online schedule.