BYU Men's Volleyball: Cougars top No. 6 Lewis in four sets

Cougars outside hitter Brenden Sander, at left, and libero Erik Sikes celebrate during the men's volleyball match between Brigham Young University and Lewis on Saturday, Jan. 6, 2018, in Provo.

Courtesy BYU Photo

No. 3 BYU men’s volleyball topped No. 6 Lewis in four sets (25-21, 23-25, 25-15, 25-15) Saturday night at the Smith Fieldhouse.

“We made a few important adjustments between sets two and three and really tried to hammer home a few adjustments to their attackers,” BYU head coach Shawn Olmstead said. “The guys made adjustments, got some more touches on their attackers and things went from there.”

The Cougars (1-1) recorded a .410 clip on the night and more than doubled the Flyers’ blocks, 10 to 3.5. Storm Fa’agata-Tufuga led BYU with 13 kills, followed by Gabi Garcia Fernandez’s 12 kills and five blocks. Brenden Sander added 11 kills and had three of the team’s seven aces. Leo Durkin tallied 40 assists while Miki Jauhiainen contributed five blocks.

Lewis (0-2) got on the board first but both teams traded points often in the starting set before tying it 8-all. The Cougars then capitalized on four-consecutive Lewis errors during a 4-0 run to go up 12-8. The Flyers came back, 13-12, before a kill from Fa’agata-Tufuga landed just inside the line for a 14-12 advantage.

BYU led by three twice, 17-14 and 19-16, but Lewis continued to fight back. A Cougar service error brought the Flyers within one, 21-20, before BYU pulled away for good. Fernandez’s two kills and a couple of Lewis errors gave the Cougars set one, 25-21.

The second set began similarly as the teams battled back and forth. The Flyers began to pull away midway through the set, 12-8, after two BYU errors and a kill.

Lewis extended its lead to five, 14-9, before the Cougars fought back to trail 14-12. A kill from Sander, a Flyer error and a block by Fernandez and Jauhiainen aided the outburst. Multiple Lewis errors kept BYU close before back-to-back kills from Jarman and Fernandez brought the Cougars within one 24-23. The Flyers narrowly edged BYU for the second set on a service error, 25-23.

In the third set, Lewis built an early 6-3 lead on a 4-0 run. The Cougars broke away from a 9-9 tie on a 3-0 run of their own to take a 12-9 lead. A kill from Fa’agata-Tufuga, ace from Jauhiainen and Flyer error contributed to the run.

BYU then extended its lead to six, 17-11, on a 6-2 run of Lewis errors and a kill from Jarman. Fa’agata-Tufuga recorded an ace, propelling the Cougars to a 10-point set victory. Wil Stanley served an ace for set point, 25-15, as BYU picked up a second set to lead the Flyers two sets to one.

The Cougars hit a .526 clip in the fourth set to end the match and take home the victory. Sander served back-to-back aces for an early 3-0 lead as BYU dominated the rest of the set. He recorded his third ace of the night to give the Cougars a seven-point advantage, 15-8. BYU maintained momentum to close the set, 25-15.

The Cougars return to action Friday on the road at Ball State at 7:30 p.m. ET.