PROVO, Utah -- Third-ranked BYU defeated No. 8 UC Irvine at home on Friday evening in a brief three-set battle 3-0 (25-22, 25-22, 25-17).
“They are a physical team in every position,” head coach Chris McGown said. “I think to some extent that they were a little road weary. The travel caught up with them a little bit.”
Taylor Sander led the way with 19 kills on a .424 clip. He was helped out by freshman Tim Dobbert, who had 10 kills on a .318 clip and a career-high four blocks. Middle blocker Micheal Hatch contributed six blocks, backed up by Josue Rivera and Devin Young with five apiece (a season high for Rivera). Tyler Heap had 41 assists.
BYU (14-4, 14-2 MPSF) came from behind to win the first game of the set 25-22 against UC Irvine (14-9, 11-8 MPSF). BYU took the lead late in the set with a 4-0 run which was the result of four UC Irvine errors. Dobbert widened the gap with an impressive ace followed up by a hit that resulted in two crucial Cougar points.
BYU won the second set of the match 25-22. The Cougars battled back and forth with the Anteaters throughout the second set all the way to set point. BYU dominated with 17 kills in the second set while UCI only had 12. Dobbert closed the second set with his second ace of the night.
The Cougars trailed for the first portion of the third set, earning their first lead at 9-8. The Anteaters tied again at 11-11 before BYU took the lead once more and held it through the end of the match. Rivera closed out the third game of the match with an ace. BYU had 13 kills in the third set while Irvine only had five.
“For us, it’s really nice to be at home,” McGown said. “That’s a really good team, and I’m sure we will see more of them down the road.“