PROVO -- After completing a weekend sweep over Ohio State, the BYU men's volleyball team (3-3, 1-1) goes back to the road for a Mountain Pacific Sports Federation match up with Long Beach State (7-1, 3-0) at the Pyramid. The matches are set for 7:30 p.m. (PST) on Wednesday and Friday night.
"This week's matches are going to be big," head coach Tom Peterson said. "Long Beach State is a very good team, they're ranked second in the nation. We will need to be at our best in order for us to win those matches. We're going to have to serve well and play good defense. We're going to have to show some consistency."
With three players recording double-digit kills, the Cougars trampled the Buckeyes on Saturday, led by seniors Joe Hillman, Jon Alleman and Fernando Pessoa. The team gained valuable experience from its non-conference match up with OSU, as 12 different players saw action in the Cougars' four-game win. This marked the first appearance of the season for some of the younger players.
Fernando Pessoa broke his career high with 19 kills in Friday's match against OSU and then followed up with his fourth double-digit kill performance (15) on Saturday. He led BYU in kills last week at 5.67 per game, while hitting .458.
Newcomer Victor Batista, a transfer from the Dominican Republic, had a strong showing in the middle position at nine kills for each match. He also posted a team-high 12 blocks over the weekend and no hitting errors for Friday's match.
This meeting marks the 20th meeting between the two teams, as LBSU holds the all-time series record over BYU, 12-8, and 6-3 at the 49ers' gym.
Peterson hopes these matches will set a definite line-up for the rest of the season, especially against top-ranked opponents like No. 2 Long Beach State and No. 1 Pepperdine.
The Cougar defense will be tested as the 49ers feature senior outside hitters Scott Touzinsky and Jeff Wootton, who led LBSU over Stanford last week with 20 and 21 kills respectively. Middle David Lee and outside Robert Tarr also caused trouble for the Cardinal with 11 and 10 kills, a piece.
LBSU remains undefeated so far in MPSF matches, with wins over USC, Pacific and Stanford. The Cougars stand 1-1 in conference, splitting against Cal State Northridge earlier this season.
The Cougars return home Feb. 6-7 to take on Pacific for a pair of matches at the Smith Fieldhouse.