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BYU volleyball: trio of Cougars lead No. 2 BYU past No. 7 Hawaii in four

A trio of Cougars led No. 2 BYU men's volleyball past No. 7 Hawaii in four sets (25-22, 25-22, 23-25, 25-21) Friday night at the Stan Sheriff Center.

"I thought it was a focused team effort tonight," BYU head coach Shawn Olmstead said. "The team stayed focused and bounced back after a close third set. We have areas we need to improve in and we'll stay focused on those improvements."

Ben Patch led the Cougars with 17 kills to go along with six digs while Jake Langlois added 12 kills and a team-high tying seven blocks. Brenden Sander put up double-digit kills as well with 12 to go along with a career-high tying four service aces. Michael Hatch matched the team high in blocks with seven and Erik Sikes added a team-high seven digs in the defensive effort. Leo Durkin collected 44 assists in the win.

Langlois collected a pair of kills to help BYU (16-2, 12-2 Mountain Pacific Sports Federation) take a 4-3 lead over Hawaii (10-9, 5-9 MPSF) to start the first set. The Rainbow Warriors' Stijn van Tilburg's fourth kill of the night then helped his team take a 10-7 lead and force Olmstead to take a timeout. Out of the break, a trio of Sander aces topped off a 6-0 run to give the Cougars the advantage again at 13-10. Price Jarman added his first kill of the evening to keep BYU ahead 17-15, and a block from Langlois and Hatch extended the Cougars' lead to four at 22-18. A Patch kill gave BYU set point and another Jarman kill ended the set 25-22.

Hawaii jumped out to a 4-2 edge early in the second set before the Cougars retook the lead 8-7 on a Sander and Hatch block. BYU went up by four points at 15-11 after a Warrior service error, but Hawai'i fought back to tie the set at 17-all after a trio of Cougar attack errors. BYU quickly countered with a 4-1 rally to retake the advantage at 21-18, forcing a Warrior timeout. Hawai'i then converted on a long rally to come back within a point at 23-22, but a Langlois kill and Warrior attack error ended the set in the Cougars' favor, 25-22.

A Sander kill gave BYU the first point of the third set. The two teams were tied at every point from there until Hawaii went on a 7-1 run, fueled by five Cougar miscues, to take a 13-8 lead. A pair of Jarman blocks then fueled a 5-1 BYU run to cut the lead to one, 14-13. Another 4-0 Cougar rally ensued, which included kills from Patch and Sander and a block from Sander and Jarman, to give BYU the advantage again at 17-15 and force the Warriors to take their final timeout of the set. Hawaii stayed in the set, going on a 5-0 run of its own to go back up 20-18. The score was then tied at points 21-23 before the Warriors closed out the close set, 25-22, on a pair of kills.

The fourth set started out similar to the third with the score knotted up at five-all after a Patch kill. The score remained tied at 11-apiece following a Jarman kill. The Cougars then took control of the set up 18-13 with help from a Sander block and pair of kills. BYU led by as many as six at 20-14 before a 4-1 Hawaii rally put the Warriors back within striking distance down 21-18. The Cougars rallied down the stretch, however, taking the set and match 25-21 on a Hawaii service error.

The Cougars have a bye next week followed by a pair of home conference matches the following week against Pepperdine beginning on Friday, March 18, at 7 p.m. MDT. The match will be broadcast live on BYUtv and simulcast on BYU Radio - Sirius XM 143. Links to live stats and video and audio feeds can be found on the BYU men's volleyball schedule page.

Royce Hinton is the men's and women's volleyball sports information director for BYU Athletic Communications.