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COLUMBUS, Ohio — Barton College’s time on the big stage of its first NCAA men’s volleyball tournament didn’t last long.
With a powerful display at the net on offense and defense, No. 4-ranked Brigham Young University dispatched the Bulldogs in three sets — 25-19, 25-11, 25-15 — that took just 71 minutes in the opening game of the NCAA Division I-II tournament Tuesday in St. John Arena on the campus of Ohio State University. The No. 3-seeded Cougars, now 25-4, advanced to play second-seeded but top-ranked Long Beach State in Thursday’s national semfinals.
No. 6-seeded Barton (23-6), the champion of Div. II Conference Carolinas and the only Div. II squad in the six-team field, managed to stay with the Cougars in the opening. Barton scored the first two points, one on a kill by Angelos Mandilaris and the second point on the first of just eight attack errors by BYU. Vasilis Mandilaris put away a shot to tie the score at 8-8 before the Cougars ran off three straight points.
Barton fought back to cut the margin to two points on four occasions but BYU again pushed the margin up to 19-14. The Bulldogs only came as close as three points the rest of the set.
Suitably warmed up, the Cougars found their service game in game 2 as Leo Durkin served five straight points, including two aces, as BYU took off to an 8-1 lead. The Cougars then scored 14 of the next 21 points to assume a 22-9 lead. A kill by Aleksa Brkovic and a service ace by Angelos Mandilaris temporarily slowed BYU before it claimed four of the next five points.
The Bulldogs again hung tough with the Cougars in the third set, trailing 16-14 on Nick Leary’s kill off a Federico Pagliaria set. But BYU reeled off six straight points, including three aces by Ben Patch, to all but end the match.
The Cougars hit at a sizzling .351 percentage compared to Barton’s .067. The Bulldogs committed 22 errors. However, the most telling statistic was BYU’s 18.5 total blocks to just two for Barton as the Cougars seemed to have three defenders at the net each time a Bulldog rose to hit the ball.
Brendan Sander led BYU with 11 kills to go with one solo block and seven block assists while Angelos Mandilaris and Brkovic each netted eight kills for Barton. In his final game as a Bulldog, Pagliaria had a match-high 25 assists.