PROVO -- The BYU men's volleyball team extended its nation's longest active homecourt win streak to 39 on Saturday, defeating MPSF foe San Diego State, 3-0. A balanced team effort paced the fourth-ranked Cougars to the 15-2, 15-4, 15-7 win over the Aztecs, marking the seventh straight win over SDSU since the 1994 season.
Sophomore Mike Wall led the Cougar offense with a match-high 15 kills, while Matt Olsen paced the BYU defense with six blocks. Setter Chris Pitzak and Libero Brad Goldston combined for 14 of the Cougars 36 digs to aide the Cougar defensive effort. BYU outblocked the Aztecs, 15.5 to 4.0 and forced 31 hitting errors on 120 attempts, holding SDSU to a .100 average at the net. The Cougar offense tallied a .366 effort, recording 60 kills on 112 attempts with just 19 hitting errors. Sean Mackin and Mike Szymanski each had 11 kills for the Aztecs, while John Engstrom chipped in eight digs.
"We played wonderfully in games one and two," BYU head coach Carl McGown said. "I think we are starting to play a little better with each match. I guess we'll see where we are next week when we play UCLA twice and UC Irvine on the road."
In game one, the Cougars posted a single-game, season-high .720 average at the net behind Mac Wilson's 5-for-6 performance (.833) and Wall's 6-for-8 (.625) effort. BYU tallied 19 kills on 25 swings, committing a season-low one hitting error. Scott Bunker and Joaquin Acosta each went 2-for-2 at the net, while the Cougar defense outblocked the Aztecs 5.5 to 0. Wall committed the only hitting error of the game for BYU, allowing the Aztecs to pull within three points at 5-2. From that point on, the Cougars reeled off 10 unanswered points and claimed game one on a Mike Deraffaele attempt that failed to clear the net.
The second game of the match saw the two teams battle to a 4-4 tie before the Cougars racked up 11 unanswered points to win the game, including a string of four straight points during the run. Acosta led BYU with five kills and Wilson produced three of his five blocks on the night as BYU once again outblocked San Diego State, 6.0 to 0 during the game.
BYU jumped out to a 6-0 lead in the final game of the match before the Aztecs cut in to the Cougar lead. SDSU went on a 4-1 run to come within 7-4 after a Bunker attempt sailed long. BYU regrouped and pushed the lead back to 14-4 on one of Casey Jennings' eight kills on the night. Stuck at 14, BYU failed to convert on five different match-point opportunities, while the Aztecs chalked up three more points during the stall. Wall finally ended the match with his 15th kill of the night. The SDSU defense came up big during the game, picking up 4.0 blocks, including three block assists and a block solo from Mackin.
After playing the last five matches at home, the Cougars will take to the road next week, traveling to UCLA and UC Irvine in crucial MPSF competition. Pending tonight's UCLA-UC Irvine match in Irvine, Calif., the Cougars are clinging to a three-match lead over No. 2 UCLA for second place in the MPSF Mountain Division. BYU will take on UCLA on Wednesday and Thursday, March 1-2 before traveling to UC Irvine on Friday and Saturday, March 3-4. All four matches are scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. (PST).
Short Box Score (Final)
San Diego State vs Brigham Young
(Feb. 26, 200 at Provo, Utah)
Brigham Young def. San Diego State 15-2,15-4,15-7
San Diego State (1-11, 0-11) (Kills-aces-blocks) - SZYMANSKI,
Mike 11-0-0; MACKIN, Sean 11-0-4; DERAFFAELE, Mike 9-0-1;
KOCH, Mike 6-0-1; PETERSON, Phil 4-0-1; ENGSTROM, John 2-0-0;
Totals 43-0-4.0. (Assists) - ENGSTROM, John 38.
(Dig leaders) - ENGSTROM, John 8; MACKIN, Sean 5
Brigham Young (13-3, 10-3) (Kills-aces-blocks) - WALL, Mike 15-0-1;
JENNINGS, Casey 8-0-3; MAYOL, Jaime 8-1-5; WILSON, Mac 7-0-5;
ACOSTA, Joaquin 7-1-1; OLSEN, Matt 5-0-6; VANTASSELL, Cameron 4-0-1;
BUNKER, Scott 4-0-4; PITZAK, Chris 2-0-3; Totals 60-2-15.5.
(Assists) - PITZAK, Chris 28; STEINERT, Todd 18.
(Dig leaders) - PITZAK, Chris 7; GOLDSTON, Brad 7
Site: Provo, Utah (Smith Fieldhouse)
Date: Feb. 26, 200 Attend: 1394 Time: 1:20
Referees: Les Calles, Tom Given, DJM;JDM;MA;ST;EK
39th straight win in the Smith Fieldhouse