BYU’s 6’9″ outside hitter Ben Patch is still on the bench, having missed the team’s last 7 games with a groin injury, but is “making strides” according to head coach Shawn Olmstead.
In an interview with the Desert News, Olmstead didn’t give a specific timetable for the return, but said that “”He’s doing things little by little and he’s making strides. We’ll just keep the same protocol with him, but it’s now to the point where we’ll get a better idea of what we’re working with.”
The All-American Patch, before he went down, was in the running for National Player of the Year with 174 kills in 36 sets. That 4.83 kill average would rank him 2nd nationally, except that he now hasn’t played enough games (66.7% of his team’s contests) to qualify for the NCAA’s official stats.
In spite of his absence, BYU is riding a 10-game winning stream, including a pair of 3-0 wins over #8 Stanford without Patch and their most recent sweep of #9 Pepperdine on Saturday.
That leaves the Cougars 2nd behind Long Beach State in the MPSF standings, but the toughest part of their schedule hits in the next 3 weeks. After finishing their double header with Pepperdine on Saturday, they welcome in #4 Hawaii for a pair next weekend and #2 LBSU for a pair the weekend after.