Brigham Young has done its part to set up a rematch of last year’s NCAA men’s volleyball championship match.
The third-seeded Cougars defeated second-seeded Long Beach State in straight sets, 25-20, 25-18, 25-23 at St. John Arena tonight. They will face the winner of tonight’s other semifinal between Ohio State and Hawaii.
The Buckeyes defeated BYU in straight sets to win last year’s title after the Cougars defeated Long Beach in four sets in a semifinal.
Brenden Sander led BYU (26-4) with 15 kills and hit .619 against the 49ers. Tim Dobbert added 11 kills and hit .474. As a team, the Cougars hit .426. Long Beach hit only .215. First-team All-American TJ DeFalco had 12 kills for BYU but hit only .231.
BYU had to advance in the play-in round Tuesday against Barton (N.C.) College, which it did with ease. Long Beach (27-4) figured to pose a much stiffer test. The 49ers are ranked No. 1 despite their second seed in the NCAAs. Long Beach and BYU split when they played two matches in Provo, Utah, in late March.
Long Beach jumped to a 4-1 lead before BYU quickly rallied. The 49ers led 17-16, but BYU won 9 of the next 12 points to take the set.
BYU took control midway through the second set and built a 21-15 lead before closing it out.
In the third set, Long Beach led 19-14 before BYU rallied to end the match. With the score tied at 23, Jake Langlois served an ace. Match point was a scramble that finally ended, fittingly, on a Sander kill.