Big kills, blocks from Sander sparks BYU past Barton in NCAA play-in match

COLUMBUS, Ohio — All-American outside attacker Brenden Sander picked up right where left off last year in the NCAA Tournament.

Sander had both match-high 11 kills and eight blocks as the No. 3 seed BYU swept the No. 6 seed Barton 25-19, 25-11, 25-15 in the NCAA Tournament play-in match on Thursday in Columbus, Ohio.

This was third consecutive NCAA Tournament match in Sander’s career that he had double-digit kills and more than a .400 attack percentage.

BYU in the victory out-blocked Barton 18.5 to 2. It also was the second most blocks for a team in a NCAA Tournament match during the 25-point rally scoring era.

Along with Sander, middle attacker Price Jarman had six blocks and middle attacker Joseph Grosh contributed five blocks.

BYU out-hit Barton .351 to .067, including holding the Bulldogs to a zero attack percentage in the final two games. In addition, All-American outside attacker Jake Langlois and opposite Tim Dobbert each had more than five kills and a .300 attack percentage.

All-conference outside attackers Aleksander Brkovic and Angelos Mandilaris in the loss both led Barton with eight kills.

BYU also set the single-match NCAA Tournament record during the 25-point rally scoring era with 10 aces. All-American opposite Ben Patch coming off the bench finished with a match-high five aces.

Patch had three consecutive aces to extend BYU’s lead to 20-14 in the third game. Patch also had another ace as part of a 7-0 run that helped secure the sweep.

The Cougars in the second game had a match-best .692 attack percentage and committed one error to take a two-game lead. In addition, the team opened the second game on an 8-1 run and led by as many as 14 points.

BYU with the opening game tied at 8-8 went on a 5-1 run to take a lead it would not relinquish. Dobbert led all players with five kills in the six-point opening game victory.

Barton was making its first NCAA Tournament appearance after it won the Conference Carolinas Tournament.

With this victory, BYU will advance to play the No. 2 seed Long Beach State in the NCAA Tournament semifinals on Thursday. Both the Cougars and 49ers finished as co-MPSF regular season champions and split their two-match regular season series.