Sander exits Smith Fieldhouse leading BYU to another MPSF title

Photo courtesy of BYU athletics.

All-MPSF outside attacker Brenden Sander delivered his farewell performance at the Smith Fieldhouse in grand fashion.

Sander finished with a match-high 18 kills while hitting .485 as BYU rallied to beat UCLA 17-25, 25-21, 25-18, 25-21 in the MPSF Tournament finals on Saturday in Provo, Utah.

The senior playing in his final home match helped the Cougars secure their fourth conference title in the last five years. In addition, BYU as the conference champions clinched a spot in the NCAA Tournament for the third consecutive year — a streak never accomplished before in program history.

Besides his offensive performance, Sander had a match-high two aces and added five blocks against the Bruins.


Sander was one of three Cougars with more than three blocks. Middle attacker Flipe de Brito Ferreira led BYU with six blocks, while All-MPSF opposite Gabi Garcia Fernandez had four blocks to go along with his 12 kills.

Libero Zach Hendrickson also led all players with a career-high 11 digs.

UCLA in its opening-game victory had a match-best .348 attack percentage, but failed to hit more than .200 in any other game. BYU despite having a negative attack percentage in the first game finished the match out-hitting UCLA .255 to .204.

UCLA All-MPSF middle attacker Daenan Gyimah finished with 10 kills on a match-best .533 attack percentage. Gyimah entered this conference championship match a day after being named a finalist for both the International Player of the Year and the Ryan Millar Award as the nation’s top middle attacker.

Opposite Christian Hessenauer also had 10 kills against BYU, and outside attacker Jake Arnitz led UCLA with 11 kills.

Despite the loss, UCLA remains in position to earn one of the two at-large bids to the NCAA Tournament, according to the latest Off the Block bracketology. The at-large bids and entire NCAA Tournament field will be announced on Sunday.

UCLA will be the host site for then VolleyFour that begins Thursday, May 3.