COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) Brenden Sander tied a season high with 15 kills and BYU upset second-seeded Long Beach State 25-20, 25-18, 25-23 on Thursday night in the NCAA volleyball semifinals.
BYU (26-4) also topped Long Beach State (27-4) in the semifinals last year. The Cougars will play Saturday night against defending champion Ohio State (31-2), a 25-23, 25-18, 25-19 winner over Hawaii.
Sander had six kills and no errors in the first set, and BYU held the nation's top offense to a 0.083 hitting percentage. BYU cruised in the second set as Jake Langlois served three straight aces to help build an 8-4 lead. The Cougars had 14 kills and just one error in the set.
BYU trailed 19-14 in the third set but tied it at 22-all on a block by Joseph Grosh and Tim Dobbert. The Cougars took their first lead of the third, 24-23, on Andrew Sato's ace, and Sander won it with a kill.
TJ DeFalco, the American Volleyball Coaches Association national player of the year, and Kyle Ensing each had 12 kills for the 49ers.
Top-seeded Ohio State overwhelmed Hawaii in the second semifinal. The Buckeyes raced to a 7-3 lead in the first set and, after Hawaii rallied to tie it at 22-all, Nicolas Szerszen won it with a kill.
In the second set, Ohio State scored seven straight points - with four aces by Szerszen - for a 15-8 lead. Ohio State led by as many as seven points in the final set and Szerszen ended it with another kill.
Szerszen, a junior, finished with 10 kills and five aces. Stijn van Tilburg had 13 kills for the Rainbow Warriors (27-6).