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BYU men’s volleyball team sweeps Pacific in three sets

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I don’t think we’re there yet. There are glimpses when it’s impressive, but we need to get to the level now when we’re there all the time. We can be better. – BYU head coach Chris McGown

PROVO — BYU's men's volleyball team disposed of visiting Pacific quickly, taking the match in three straight sets, 25-23, 25-12 and 25-18, Friday night. After a rocky first set the Cougars hit their stride – cruising to the straight-set victory.

The match marked only the second time this year where a front line consisting of Taylor Sander, Futi Tavana and Rob Stowell was able to take the court at the same time. Tavana started the year on the bench, recovering from injury, while Sander incurred a broken hand one match before the star middle blocker took the court.

Tonight's performance gave strong indication that BYU is going to be formidable with its full front line intact. Sander led the team in kills with 11, followed by Stowell's nine, but the night belonged to Tavana.

The senior entered the match just six blocks away from Russell Holmes' team record for total blocks in a career. He passed Holmes' record of 538 early in the third set with the crowd going crazy with its support.

A group of friends and family behind the Cougar bench was particularly boisterous throughout the match – presenting a countdown board of Tavana's career blocks as he closed in on Holmes' record.

"It's a good thing I broke the record tonight or that would have been bad (with all of them here)," said Tavana after the match. "I felt like I was at home. Back at home – over in the Islands – that's how it is. They get really rowdy, so that I felt at home."

Tavana remembers Holmes as being the star of the team when he entered the program as a true freshman. He was quick to credit his coaches and teammates for helping him reach this milestone.

"I had no idea I'd even get close (to the record)," said Tavana. "Credit to my coaches for turning me into a middle blocker and credit to my teammates who helped make that transition easier on me and my job a lot easier. We did this together."

BYU coach Chris McGown was noticeably pleased with his team's overall effort, but he said there's still room for improvement. One area in particular is the habit of getting off to slow starts – waiting until the second or even third set to take over a match.

"I don't think we're there yet," said McGown. "There are glimpses when it's impressive, but we need to get to the level now when we're there all the time. We can be better."

With the win BYU moves to 14-4 on the year and will take on Pacific Saturday night in the Smith Fieldhouse.

email: bgurney@desnews.com