Blocking the Key as Cougars Sweep Warriors

Rob Neilson set a career-high with nine blocks and added five digs and 45 assists in BYU's sweep of the Hawai'i Warriors Saturday. (Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)

PROVO -- The Cougars completed a season sweep of Hawai'i Saturday, earning their third win of 2005 over the Warriors, this time in impressive fashion, 30-27, 30-24, 30-27, in the Smith Fieldhouse. The victory pulled BYU into a tie with Hawai'i in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation standings at 9-5 and improved its overall record to 14-7. The Warriors now stand at 13-6 overall.

Coach Tom Peterson said the crowd of the Fieldhouse and an ever-improving team were key factors in BYU's sweep of Hawai'i.

"I think a big part of it was the fans here in the Fieldhouse," he said. "They really help us keep the momentum and control the match. We're getting better. We've been working hard in practice and it's showing. We still have an upside though. Depending on how hard we work will determine how good we can become."

For the second straight night, blocking played a major role as the Cougars denied the Hawai'i hitters 18 times. Rob Neilson was the main catalyst, recording a career-high nine (one solo, eight assists). His previous career-high was seven, which he set against the Warriors on Friday. Victor Batista had eight block assists while Michael Burke contributed two solos and four assists.

Three BYU players recorded double-digit kills as Ivan Perez recorded 14, Batista had 12 and Taylor Evans added 11. Each player hit at least .400. As a team, BYU hit .317 (49-17-101) and had 26 digs. Casey Patterson led the Cougars with nine digs while Neilson had 45 assists.

Hawai'i struggled to find their rhythm hitting the ball, finishing with a percentage of .150 (42-27-100). Pedro Azenha managed a match-high 15 kills while Kyle Klinger and Jose Delgado had seven apiece. As a team, the Warriors recorded 29 digs and 3.0 team blocks.

Game one was a seesaw battle that saw 15 ties and five lead changes. The Cougars scored first but Hawai'i took advantage of several BYU errors to take the lead at 8-6. BYU fought hard to get back ahead at 16-14 on a Perez ace and maintained the two-point advantage at 19-17. The Warriors then made a run, scoring three straight to take a 20-19 lead. A Batista kill ended the run but Hawai'i scored five of the next seven to go ahead, 25-22 and force a Cougar timeout.

BYU came out of the break with purpose as Perez got a kill, the Warriors had a hitting error and Batista and Neilson teamed up for consecutive blocks to give the Cougars the lead at 26-25. Hawai'i managed a tie at 26 but BYU scored four of the next five to close it out at 30-27. Burke, Perez, Batista and Evans tallied three kills each while Neilson recorded five blocks. While both teams struggled hitting the ball, the Cougars' 6.5 blocks helped them stay in control.

BYU continued its strong play in the second, building a four-point lead at 16-12 behind four kills by Perez. The Warriors refused to go down easy, however, fighting back to tie the score at 22 and then at 24. That was all Hawai'i would get as the Cougars tightened up their play at the net and scored the last six points for the win. Burke had a hand in three of the points, getting a block solo and recording two assists. BYU was much improved hitting the ball, recording a .457 (20-4-35) percentage, and equally strong with the block, tallying five. Perez scorched the Warriors with six kills while Batista had five of his own and Evans added four. Patterson's five digs helped the Cougars keep several rallies alive.

The third game was all BYU as the Cougars took the lead at 4-3 on a Patterson kill and never looked back. BYU took its largest lead at 27-21 on a block by Neilson and Batista before Hawai'i made a last-ditch effort, closing the gap to 27-24 and then 29-27. Evans stalled the run with a kill, ending the game and the match.

Peterson said anytime a team sweeps Hawai'i on back-to-back nights is impressive but his team needs to continue working.

"It's an awesome weekend to win six-straight games against Hawai'i but you can't relax," he said. "We have some important matches coming up with Long Beach. I expect this coming weekend to be the barnburner of the season. They are a very good team."

The Cougars will take on the Long Beach State 49ers next Friday and Saturday (March 25 and 26) in the Smith Fieldhouse. BYU and Long Beach have developed a rivalry in the past few years with the Cougars taking four matches from the 49ers in 2004. Two of the wins were the championship matches of the MPSF and NCAA tournaments.

Volleyball Box Score

Brigham Young University - Volleyball

#3 Hawai`i vs #6 Brigham Young (Mar 19, 2005 at Provo, Utah)

Hawai`i | ATTACK |SET| SERVE |SRV|DEF| BLOCK |GEN

## Name GP| K E TA PCT| A| SA SE| RE|DIG|BS BA BE|BHE|POINTS

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

5 Klinger, Kyle....... 3| 7 2 10 .500| 0| 0 0| 0| 2| 0 1 0| 0| 7.5

7 Delgado, Jose....... 3| 7 3 19 .211| 0| 0 2| 1| 8| 0 1 0| 0| 7.5

10 Beckwith, Brian..... 2| 0 0 2 .000| 29| 0 0| 0| 3| 1 0 0| 0| 1.0

12 Azenha, Pedro....... 3| 15 10 33 .152| 0| 0 3| 2| 6| 0 0 0| 0| 15.0

13 Bender, Matt........ 2| 2 7 10 -.500| 0| 0 2| 1| 1| 1 0 1| 0| 3.0

19 Dante, Dio.......... 3| 6 3 13 .231| 0| 0 2| 0| 0| 0 0 1| 0| 6.0

11 Reft, Alfred........ 3| 0 0 0 .000| 1| 0 0| 1| 4| 0 0 0| 0| 0.0

14 Schkud, Jacob....... 2| 5 1 12 .333| 0| 0 0| 0| 3| 0 0 0| 0| 5.0

18 Rasay, Daniel....... 1| 0 1 1-1.000| 12| 0 0| 0| 2| 0 0 0| 0| 0.0

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Totals.............. 3| 42 27 100 .150| 42| 0 9| 5| 29| 2 2 2| 0| 45.0

TEAM ATTACK PER GAME TOTAL TEAM BLOCKS: 3.0

Game K E TA Pct

1 14 11 30 .100 GAME SCORES 1 2 3 TEAM RECORDS

2 15 6 37 .243 Hawai`i............. (0) 27 24 27 13-6, 9-5 MPSF

3 13 10 33 .091 Brigham Young....... (3) 30 30 30 14-7, 9-5 MPSF

Brigham Young | ATTACK |SET| SERVE |SRV|DEF| BLOCK |GEN

## Name GP| K E TA PCT| A| SA SE| RE|DIG|BS BA BE|BHE|POINTS

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

3 BURKE, Michael...... 3| 5 4 12 .083| 0| 1 2| 0| 1| 2 4 0| 0| 10.0

8 PEREZ, Ivan......... 3| 14 3 25 .440| 0| 1 4| 0| 3| 0 1 0| 0| 15.5

9 PATTERSON, Casey.... 3| 4 4 17 .000| 1| 1 4| 0| 9| 0 3 1| 0| 6.5

14 NEILSON, Rob........ 3| 3 2 5 .200| 45| 0 1| 0| 5| 1 8 0| 0| 8.0

15 BATISTA, Victor..... 3| 12 2 20 .500| 0| 1 3| 0| 2| 0 8 0| 1| 17.0

17 EVANS, Taylor....... 3| 11 2 22 .409| 0| 1 3| 0| 4| 0 5 2| 0| 14.5

6 HEYES, Matt......... 3| 0 0 0 .000| 0| 0 0| 0| 0| 0 0 0| 0| 0.0

7 ROWLEY, Brian....... 3| 0 0 0 .000| 2| 0 0| 0| 2| 0 0 0| 0| 0.0

11 HOLMES, Russell..... 3| 0 0 0 .000| 0| 0 0| 0| 0| 0 1 0| 0| 0.5

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Totals.............. 3| 49 17 101 .317| 48| 5 17| 0| 26| 3 30 3| 1| 72.0

TEAM ATTACK PER GAME TOTAL TEAM BLOCKS: 18.0

Game K E TA Pct

1 13 7 28 .214 Site: Provo, Utah (Smith Fieldhouse)

2 20 4 35 .457 Date: Mar 19, 2005 Attend: 2907 Time: 1H 40M

3 16 6 38 .263 Referees: LES CALLES, TOM GIVEN, MAETANI

1 2 3 Total

Tie scores 15 14 2 31

Lead changes 5 2 1 8

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Tags: Results