PROVO -- In a preseason tournament held in Las Vegas, the BYU men's volleyball team defeated conference-rival Long Beach State 3-1 (30-25, 30-27, 27-30, 31-29) on Saturday in its final match of the tournament.
The tournament featured three top U.S. teams, Pepperdine, Long Beach State and BYU as well as the local Las Vegas Club team. The Cougars competed Friday night against the Las Vegas team, which brought ex-players together for the tournament including Brad Keenan, an All-American and Player of the Year from Pepperdine.
"This tournament gave us a taste of where we're at," BYU head coach Tom Peterson said. "We were able to get experience for the players who have switched positions and for the younger players as well."
BYU brought two teams to the tournament, each made up of about seven players. This allowed everyone to get sufficient playing time and experience. The first team was made up of returning players like seniors Jon Alleman, Chris Gorny, Joe Hillman, Cory Carpenter, Shawn Olmstead and junior Carlos Moreno.
The first team took the Las Vegas team to five games on Halloween night, barely falling 15-13 in the last game. The second team also fell to the Las Vegas team 3-0 on Friday night, but sophomore setter Rob Neilson suffered a bad sprained ankle in practice last week that limited his mobility.
The first team also faced conference-rival Pepperdine on Saturday morning, but didn't play as well as they had hoped and fell 3-1 (28-30, 30-19, 30-27, 30-28). The last match against Long Beach State was the highlight of the tournament, where the Cougars downed the 49ers 3-1.
"Against Long Beach State, we started passing well and got into a groove," Peterson said. "To end on that note, was a positive thing for the team. If we can continue getting better, we'll be able to compete with anyone."
Peterson said the teams at the tournament will be among the top in the conference and in the country, so it was encouraging to win the match against Long Beach State.
BYU will continue its individual workouts and conditioning until the regular season starts in January. The Cougars' first action of the season kicks off at the Pepperdine Tournament during Jan. 9-10.