No. 1 BYU Wins in Five Against No. 9 Cardinal


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Provo, Utah - The No. 1 BYU men's volleyball team (12-0, 7-0) beat No. 9 Stanford (9-6, 5-6) Friday in the Smith Fieldhouse for the 12th time in a row (30-22, 28-30, 30-18, 27-30, 15-12), led by senior All-American middle blocker Russell Holmes with 19 kills and senior setter Brian Congelliere setting the team to a .333 attack percentage.

Holmes hit an astounding .654 to record his highest kill total of the season. Also in double figures were sophomore outside hitter Andrew Stewart (15 kills), senior outside hitter Ivan Perez (13 kills), and senior middle blocker Trent Sorensen (12 kills). The win also marks the fourth time this season BYU has won in five sets.

"We're having problems passing in a couple rotations, and we missed too many serves," BYU head coach Shawn Patchell said. "Stanford is a good team. They put a lot of pressure on us. But we have a good problem when we can win and our team still wants to get better."

Stanford had an early two-point lead in the first set at 4-2, but it did not last long. BYU had a three-point lead at 11-8 and four-point lead at 13-9. The Cougar lead only increased from there, and the blue and white ran away with the first set 30-22. BYU hit .375 with eight block assists in the set while holding Stanford to a .094 attack percentage and no blocks.

The second set was much more tightly contested than the first. The Cardinal took its first lead of the set at 16-15, but the lead did not long. The two teams traded the next eight points before Stanford took a two-point lead at 19-21. The Cougars tied the set at 21-21, but fell three points behind at 24-27 and 25-28. BYU tied the set again at 28, but the Cardinal tied the match at one set apiece with a 30-28 win.

BYU was running on all cylinders again in the third set. Congelliere set the Cougars to a .696 attack percentage with 17 kills and only on3 attack error. The team also recorded four block assists with two from Holmes. Up seven points at 25-18, BYU ran off the next five points to take the set at 30-18.

Down, but not out, the Cardinal battled in the fourth set. The score remained with two points for the first half of the set, but Stanford built itself a five-point advantage at 21-16. BYU rallied to pull to within two at 27-29 when Stanford had four set points, but could not muster enough to turn the tide of the set. Stanford forced a deciding fifth set with a 30-27 win.

In the deciding set, Stanford earned an early 4-2 lead, but BYU took its own lead at 7-5 highlighted by a service ace from Congelliere. The crowd roared as the Cougars inched closer to their 12th straight win by increasing its lead to three at 10-7. Stanford turned a deaf ear to the racket and tied the set at 11-11 on a block.

Sophomore setter Reed Chilton replaced Congelliere for the final points of the game to alter the Cougars rhythm and keep Stanford guessing. The coaching move paid off. Chilton set two kills for others and recorded the final one himself as BYU won the fifth set 15-12.

Redshirt freshman Kent Tuttle got his first start at opposite in Friday's match because regular starter Jonathan Charette was ill. Tuttle unfortunately went down at the net with an ankle injury in the second set attempting a block. A team trainer said Tuttle should be in action next week against Pacific. Sophomore Mat Taylor filled in for Tuttle, and Patchell credited Taylor for being the team???s emotional leader in Friday's match.

The same two teams will meet again at 7 p.m. Saturday in the Smith Fieldhouse. Doors open at 5:30 p.m.

Article courtesy of BYU athletics.

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