LONG BEACH, Calif. — The No. 4-ranked BYU men's volleyball team lost on the road to No. 9 Long Beach State in five sets (17-25, 25-22, 25-23, 21-25, 18-20) on Saturday night to split the pair of matches this weekend.
BYU's Taylor Sander led all players with 25 kills to tie his season high. Teammates Robb Stowell, Russ Lavaja,Josue Rivera and Futi Tavana joined Sander in double-digit kills with 14, 11, 10 and 10, respectively. Tavana led all players with eight blocks while Rivera led the squad with 11 digs.
The 49ers took set one, 25-17, after a 5-2 run to finish out the set. The set was tied at 9-9 early on but two straight points for Long Beach State gave the 49ers a lead they would not relinquish.
BYU bounced back in the second set, winning 25-22 to tie the match at 1-1. Riding the momentum, the Cougars took set three 25-23 for a 2-1 lead in the match.
Set four, similar to the first three, was a back-and-forth battle all the way to the end but the 49ers pulled out the 25-21 win to send the match to a decisive fifth set.
In a competitive fifth set, the teams traded points for the first few posessions until BYU went on a 4-0 run to take the lead at 10-8. Long Beach State responded and tied the set at 14-all to force the play into extra frames. Again the teams traded points but, in the end, it was the 49ers who were able to get back-to-back points for the 20-18 victory.
The Cougars return to Provo next weekend to host Cal State Northridge on March 29-30. Both matches will be live on BYUtv and BYU Radio.