Strong Defense Leads No. 9 BYU to Sweep Over No. 10 UC San Diego
PROVO, Utah - A return home was all No. 9 BYU needed to return to .500 on the season as the men's volleyball team swept No. 10 UC San Diego 30-24, 30-22, 30-21 Friday night in the Smith Fieldhouse. With the win the Cougars improve to an even 6-6 on the season and 4-3 in MPSF play.
Junior opposite Kent Tuttle led BYU with 12 kills on the night and an impressive .526 attack percentage. Tuttle started the match in place of fellow junior Mat Taylor who sat out of the match due to illness. Also recording double-digit kills for the Cougars was outside hitter Andrew Stewart with 11.
Defensively the Cougars had 19.5 team blocks, a new season high. UCSD's .071 hitting percentage also marked a season-low by a BYU opponent this season.
"Our guys worked really hard this week in practice," said BYU head coach Shawn Patchell. "They were really resilient in the blocking drills, which is why we did so well blocking tonight."
Tuttle started strong, recording five kills and helping the Cougars to a .562 hitting percentage. As a team BYU accumulated eight blocks compared to UCSD's zero, holding the Tritons to a .154 percentage. The Cougars jumped out to an early 6-2 lead, a lead which they maintained the entire set. Up 26-24, BYU rallied to score four consecutive points for the win with back-to-back kills by Stewart and Rusty Lavaja.
The second set went along much like the first, as BYU never trailed UCSD. Up by only one point at 5-4, blocks by Futi Tavana and Kevin Sagers helped the Cougars win four-straight points. BYU found itself up by as many as nine points after the Tritons' eight service errors. Another kill by Stewart secured the 30-22 win.
It was a close third set as the Tritons' earned their first lead of the night at 15-14. Coming out of a timeout, another UCSD service error helped shift the momentum into the Cougars' favor as they went on a short 3-0 run to pull ahead. Seven consecutive BYU points late in the game was broken after a service error, but a kill by Tavana and subsequent Triton error from the service line clinched the overall win for BYU.
The Cougars and Tritons meet again on Saturday at 7 p.m. MT in the Smith Fieldhouse.
Article courtesy of BYU athletics.