Men's Volleyball Blog

Day 12: Venice

May 22, 2014 - Posted by Rachel Hawks at 1:23 pm | Permalink

The Cougars enjoyed their last day of their European tour in Venice, Italy, on Thursday. The team took boat rides and visited the island of Murano, where Italians have been making world-famous Venetian glass since the 13th century. The Cougars were even able to watch the glass making process and see glass sculptures made from the glass.

The team also saw St. Mark’s Basilica, an Italo-Byzantine cathedral and one of the most famous churches in Venice.

Friday the team returns to the U.S. after earning a 5-2 record against foreign opponents from three countries. The Cougars visited six different countries during their tour.

Days 8-11: Zagreb, Rovinj, Pula

May 21, 2014 - Posted by Rachel Hawks at 8:28 pm | Permalink

This week the volleyball team has been in Croatia, starting in Zagreb. Sunday the Cougars went to church in Zagreb. There were only about 25 people in the branch. The team listened to the service via translators.

After Zagreb, the team moved on to Rovinj, a small Croatian city on the Adriatic Sea.

Monday, the Cougars explored the beautiful Plitvicka Jezera Lakes in one of the oldest national parks in Europe. The cascading lakes are known for their bright shades of green and blue, which change depending on weather, minerals and organisms in the water.

Tuesday the Cougars explored the city and the coast in Rovinj, then on Wednesday headed to Pula, another city on the Croatian coast. In both cities BYU played against club teams and won both matches.

Thursday the team will travel to Italy for the last leg of its journey.

Days 4-7: Vienna, Maribor, Zagreb

May 17, 2014 - Posted by Rachel Hawks at 11:25 pm | Permalink

The team traveled through Austria on its way to Slovenia, stopping in Vienna to check out some sights. One place they visited was St. Stephen’s Cathedral, one of the most recognized buildings in Vienna. Its colorful tiled roof sets it apart from the other Gothic cathedrals in Europe. The team also visited the opera house and government buildings.

In Maribor, the team stayed at Dras Hotel, which had a volleyball court, indoor soccer field and weight room inside. When the Cougars played the Slovenia National B Team, they simply had to walk downstairs to get to the court. BYU lost the first match to Slovenia 3-1, but came back in the second match to win 3-2.

On one of their days in Maribor, the Cougars got to experience the Slovenian Alps. They rode a ski lift up the mountain to a giant alpine slide, ropes course and alpine swing. While there, the guys ate Slovenia’s famous sausage and enjoyed a gondola ride after dark, which allowed them an amazing view of the city lights.

After Maribor the team headed to Zagreb, Croatia, where the Cougars played against HOK Mladost Zagreb Saturday evening. BYU won in four sets, but the teams decided to play a fifth set.

Former Cougars to play in NORCECA qualifier

May 15, 2014 - Posted by Rachel Hawks at 12:29 pm | Updated: May 15, 2014 1:17 pm | Permalink

Former Cougars Taylor Sander and Russell Holmes were named to the 12-man squad that will compete in the NORCECA Men’s World Championship Qualification Tournament, which begins Thursday. 

The U.S. will compete against St. Lucia at 7 p.m. MDT Thursday at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado. The match can be streamed live online from the USA Volleyball website.

For more information, visit teamusa.org.

Day 3: Prague

May 15, 2014 - Posted by Rachel Hawks at 10:38 am | Updated: May 15, 2014 10:41 am | Permalink

Tuesday the team visited Prague's new town and saw the John Lennon Wall. The Lennon Wall is filled with graffiti and is constantly changing due to new graffiti, mostly based on Lennon and Beatles lyrics. The Cougars have enjoyed getting to know Prague, especially its amazing architecture.

While exploring the city, they saw David Cerny's baby statues, which are 10 enormous statues of crawling babies with big coin slots on their heads instead of faces. Cerny is a Czech sculptor who tries for the shock factor in his work. (See image below of the team with the baby statues.)

The team has also gotten a taste of authentic food, including meat dumplings with cream sauce, blueberry sweet sauce and pancakes that turned their teeth blue. They've enjoyed the European cuisine so far.

The team competed against CZU Prague Tuesday. CZU Prague won in four sets, but both teams enjoyed the experience along with all the BYU and Czech fans. 

Day 2: Prague and match vs. Brno

May 12, 2014 - Posted by Rachel Hawks at 3:03 pm | Updated: May 12, 2014 3:11 pm | Permalink

On their second day in Europe, the Cougars did some sight seeing and played their first match against a foreign opponent.

The team took a walking tour of Prague, which including visiting a church, climbing a tower and seeing the changing of the guard at the president's house.

Monday evening the team competed against the Brno club team, winning 3-2 (21-25, 25-18, 25-17, 19-25, 23-21) after a tough fifth set. Volejbal Brno led 14-12 in the fifth set, but the Cougars bounced back for the 23-21 fifth-set victory.

Freshman Tim Dobbert led BYU with 19 kills, followed by Josue Rivera's 15 kills, Jake Langlois's 12 and Matt Underwood's 11.

"We started a little slow, but we had 10 days without practice coupled with almost 30 hours of travel, so it took us a set to start playing well," BYU head coach Chris McGown said. "We got the chance to play almost our entire bench, and had some great moments to keep the match alive in the fifth set. I loved that right off the bat we had a challenging match, and that our players experienced a tough road environment. Our hosts were amazingly gracious, and it was really an honor to compete with them."

BYU will play one more match in Prague Tuesday before heading to Maribor, Slovenia, by way of Vienna, Austria.

The craziest thing that's happened to the team so far (from junior outside hitter Phil Fuchs): "They overbooked our flight from Amsterdam to Prague, and Devin Young and his wife, Marie, had to stay there an extra night. Now that they are here, Devin's bag was lost, and he still doesn't have it!"

Day 1: Travel to Prague

May 11, 2014 - Posted by Rachel Hawks at 10:53 pm | Permalink

The team reached Prague Sunday after a long couple days of travel. One of their layovers was in Amsterdam, where they were able to see a little of the city before their last flight to Prague.

From outside hitter Phil Fuchs:

"We are in Amsterdam waiting for our flight to Prague. We went out to the city to check out some of it, with some people going to the downtown, and others taking a bus to see the Anne Frank house. The weather is super rainy and windy, which made it very interesting to walk around. A lot of us were very cold. Some of us ended up taking naps in the Marriott lobby."

Check back for more updates from Europe!

Three Cougars named to U.S. Men's National Team

May 07, 2014 - Posted by Rachel Hawks at 1:26 pm | Permalink

Three former Cougars have been selected to the 22-player U.S. Men’s National Team preliminary roster for the 2014 FIVB World League.

Outside hitter Taylor Sander, who was named AVCA National Player of the Year April 30 for his senior season performance, is one of three college players named to the team. He is joined by middle blockers Futi Tavana, who played at BYU from 2009-12, and Russell Holmes, who played for the Cougars from 2004-2008. Holmes competed with the Olympic team in 2012.

Another former Cougar, Mike Wall, is an assistant coach for the team.

The national team will compete against Russia in Long Beach, California, June 6-7. The next week (June 13-14), the team will face Serbia in Chicago before facing Bulgaria in Hoffman Estates, Illinois, June 20-21.

The coaches will select 14 players of the 22 named to the team to compete each weekend.

For more information, visit the USA Volleyball website.

Chicago: Day 2

Apr 30, 2014 - Posted by Royce Hinton at 8:53 pm | Updated: April 30, 2014 8:58 pm | Permalink

BYU men's volleyball headed to the Joseph J. Gentile Arena in the morning for early practice and a prematch press conference. Coach Chris McGown and players Taylor Sander and Devin Young addressed the media before watching film on their opponent, Stanford. Read the press conference transcript.

The Cougars then had the afternoon off before heading to the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) Awards Banquet where senior Sander was presented with the top honor, Player of the Year, in his role as a first-team All-American. 

No. 2 seed BYU faces No. 3 seed Stanford in the semifinals of the NCAA tournament tomorrow at 7 p.m. EDT.

Chicago: Day 1

Apr 29, 2014 - Posted by Royce Hinton at 9:34 pm | Updated: April 29, 2014 9:37 pm | Permalink

After a day filled with travel to Chicago, the BYU men's volleyball team arrived at its hotel near the campus of Loyola University Chicago. Players streamed the NCAA tournament play-in matches from their phones during the travel period. The Cougars will begin tomorrow with practice and a press conference at the Joseph J. Gentile Arena in preparation for their NCAA tournament semifinal match on Thursday at 7 p.m. EDT.