All-American Russell Holmes and the No. 4 BYU men's volleyball team will host UC Santa Barbara Friday and Saturday in the Smith Fieldhouse. (Photo by Jaren Wilkey/BYU Photo)
PROVO -- Men's volleyball returns to the Smith Fieldhouse this weekend as No. 4 BYU hosts No. 14 UC Santa Barbara in matches Friday and Saturday with each starting at 7 p.m. as the Cougars look to break a three-match losing streak.
Senior All-Americans Russell Holmes and Ivan Perez lead the BYU contingent. Holmes is tied for first in the country with an average of 1.60 blocks per game and seventh in the country with a .457 attack percentage on the year. Perez is 11th in the nation with an average of 4.45 kills per game, 12th in the nation with an average of 5.02 points per game, and 17th in the nation averaging 2.26 digs per game. As a team, the Cougars have the fourth best hitting percentage in the country.
UC Santa Barbara has lost five of its last seven matches, but has won two of its last three in three-set sweeps over USC and Cal-Baptist. Freshman Jeff Menzel leads the attack for the Gauchos ranking fourth in the nation with an average of 4.84 kills per game. Senior Theo Brunner also averages 3.60 kills per game with a .382 attack percentage. Sophomore Sam Moisenco averages 1.27 blocks per game, which is 16th best in the country.
The Cougars have beaten the Gauchos in the last four meetings between the two schools and swept them in the last three. In total, 23 of the 37 decisions between the two have ended in sweeps while only twice has the competition gone to five sets. BYU has also won 17 of the last 20 meetings between the Cougars and the Gauchos, and 12 of those wins were sweeps.
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