Confidence and Consistency Lead to Comeback Win

Rob Neilson recorded a career-high 68 assists in leading the BYU Cougars past the Penn State Nittany Lions 3-2 Thursday at the Outrigger Tournament. (Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)

HONOLULU -- The BYU men's volleyball team came back from a two games to none deficit to defeat the Penn State Nittany Lions (27-30, 28-30, 30-27, 30-24, 15-11) Thursday and improve to 2-0 on the season. The victory extends the Cougar's win streak to nine overall, dating back to the 2004 season.

BYU coach Tom Peterson was impressed with the way his team bounced back from a rough start to claim the match.

"We were very inconsistent in the first two games but put things together and were able to come back," Peterson said. "I thought we got a lot more consistent with our passing in the third game. It was pretty neat to see the confidence develop and eliminate the errors."

Peterson, who coached at Penn State in the early 90s and won a National Championship with the Nittany Lions in 1994, said it is always exciting to play his former team.

"There's always a little added pleasure playing guys you know," he said.

After struggling in the first two games to get into a groove, the Cougars woke up and won three straight to steal the match from the Nittany Lions. BYU hit a blistering .410 in the third game, recording 22 kills to get back into the contest. The Cougars were able to shutdown the Penn State offense in the fourth and fifth games, limiting the Nittany Lions to hitting percentages of .216 and .143.

Senior middle blocker Michael Burke led BYU with 16 kills, a team-high .500 hitting percentage, and four blocks. Senior opposite hitter Casey Patterson and freshman middle blocker Russell Holmes each recorded career highs in kills with 15 and 14, respectively. Patterson added a career-high three service aces as well.

Two other Cougars also registered career highs as junior libero Brian Rowley had 10 digs and junior setter Rob Neilson had 68 assists. Freshman outside hitter Ivan Perez, who struggled against Lewis on Wednesday, had career highs of nine kills and three blocks.

Peterson noted that the team's depth and their ability to set the middle blockers were keys to the team's success.

"Our middles played great," Peterson said. "That's huge when we can go to our middles. Casey (Patterson) coming in was big. He brings a lot of energy. Our depth is a major strength for us. Our ability to go to various guys at different times throughout the match was important."

As a team, BYU hit .286 on the night, had 44 digs, nine team blocks, and eight service aces. Penn State hit .294 for match while recording 13 team blocks and 50 digs.

Four Nittany Lions recorded double figures in kills with Alex Gutor leading the way with a match-high 17. Gary Vogel had a match-high 17 digs while Keith Kowal chipped in a match-high six blocks.

Coach Tom Peterson said his team would need to play a solid match to defeat a very good Penn State team after playing poorly in the previous night's victory over Lewis University. The Cougars struggled throughout the first two games, making errors and hitting for low percentages. BYU hit .273 and .178 respectively in the first two games.

Peterson is looking forward to playing Hawai'i on Friday and said he knows that it will be a big test for his team.

"Hawai'i is a very good team with a lot of depth," Peterson said. "I would maybe rank them as the team to beat in the country. They have a bunch of guys that can play so I think they are a very good team. They're great at home. Their crowd is amazing. That's really going to test us. Our main concern is how long we can play without errors."

To view the detailed box score, click on the pdf version above.

The Cougars will conclude the Outrigger Tournament with a match against the host University of Hawai'i on Friday at 7 p.m. (HST). The match will be broadcast live on the internet. To listen, visit http://uhathletics.hawaii.edu/ or click here.

Volleyball Box Score

The Automated ScoreBook

Brigham Young Univ. vs Penn State (Jan 06, 2005 at Honolulu)

Brigham Young Univ. | 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...... 5| 16 3 26 .500| 1| 1 0| 0| 3| 0 4 1| 0| 19.0

9 PATTERSON, Casey.... 5| 15 6 29 .310| 3| 3 2| 3| 5| 0 0 0| 0| 18.0

11 HOLMES, Russell..... 5| 14 4 30 .333| 0| 0 4| 0| 1| 0 3 0| 0| 15.5

14 NEILSON, Rob........ 5| 7 1 12 .500| 68| 0 3| 0| 6| 0 3 0| 1| 8.5

15 BATISTA, Victor..... 5| 15 8 42 .167| 1| 2 4| 1| 7| 1 2 1| 2| 19.0

17 EVANS, Taylor....... 2| 4 7 16 -.188| 0| 0 1| 0| 5| 0 1 0| 0| 4.5

6 HEYES, Matt......... 5| 0 0 0 .000| 0| 1 2| 0| 0| 0 0 0| 0| 1.0

7 ROWLEY, Brian....... 5| 1 0 1 1.000| 3| 0 0| 0| 10| 0 0 0| 0| 1.0

8 PEREZ, Ivan......... 5| 9 2 19 .368| 1| 1 3| 0| 7| 0 3 0| 1| 11.5

TEAM................ | | | | 1| | | | 0.0

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

Totals.............. 5| 81 31 175 .286| 77| 8 19| 5| 44| 1 16 2| 4| 98.0

TEAM ATTACK PER GAME TOTAL TEAM BLOCKS: 9.0

Game K E TA Pct

1 17 8 33 .273 GAME SCORES 1 2 3 4 5 TEAM RECORDS

2 18 10 45 .178 Brigham Young Univ.. (3) 27 28 30 30 15 2-0

3 22 6 39 .410 Penn State.......... (2) 30 30 27 24 11 0-2

4 17 5 44 .273

5 7 2 14 .357

Penn State | ATTACK |SET| SERVE |SRV|DEF| BLOCK |GEN

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

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

2 O'Dell, Dan......... 4| 2 1 6 .167| 38| 0 1| 0| 3| 0 4 0| 2| 4.0

4 Proper, Matt........ 5| 13 8 28 .179| 1| 1 2| 0| 9| 0 1 1| 1| 14.5

7 Wentzel, Kevin...... 5| 11 5 25 .240| 0| 1 4| 2| 4| 0 1 0| 0| 12.5

10 Gutor, Alex......... 5| 17 6 36 .306| 0| 2 3| 2| 9| 1 4 0| 0| 22.0

11 Meerstein, Nate..... 5| 11 1 16 .625| 0| 0 1| 0| 1| 2 3 1| 1| 14.5

14 Kowal, Keith........ 5| 7 2 22 .227| 0| 0 1| 0| 1| 0 6 2| 0| 10.0

1 Vogel, Gary......... 5| 0 0 0 .000| 4| 0 0| 1| 17| 0 0 0| 0| 0.0

3 Masterson, Kyle..... 1| 0 0 0 .000| 0| 0 0| 0| 0| 0 0 0| 0| 0.0

5 Fernandez, Guillermo 4| 0 0 0 .000| 0| 0 0| 0| 0| 0 0 0| 0| 0.0

6 Walthall, Ryan...... 4| 0 0 0 .000| 0| 1 0| 0| 2| 0 0 0| 0| 1.0

8 Smith, Aaron........ 3| 1 0 1 1.000| 0| 0 0| 2| 0| 0 0 0| 0| 1.0

9 Price, Andrew....... 1| 0 0 0 .000| 0| 0 0| 0| 0| 0 0 0| 0| 0.0

16 Murray, Luke........ 3| 1 0 2 .500| 18| 0 0| 0| 4| 0 1 0| 2| 1.5

TEAM................ | | | | 1| | | | 0.0

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

Totals.............. 5| 63 23 136 .294| 61| 5 12| 8| 50| 3 20 4| 6| 81.0

TEAM ATTACK PER GAME TOTAL TEAM BLOCKS: 13.0

Game K E TA Pct

1 13 4 25 .360 Site: Honolulu (Stan Sheriff Center)

2 14 5 31 .290 Date: Jan 06, 2005 Attend: Time: 2:32

3 15 3 29 .414 Referees: Dickson Chun, Dan Hironaka

4 15 7 37 .216 Length of Games - 0:27/0:31/0:28/0:29/0:16

5 6 4 14 .143 11th Outrigger Volleyball Invitational

BYU "Cougars" vs. PENN STATE "Nittany Lions"

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Tags: Results