Cougars Claim Tournament Title, Automatic Bid

PROVO -- The top-ranked BYU men's volleyball team overcame a game-one loss on Saturday to claim the MPSF Tournament Championship on Saturday and earn the league's automatic bid to the NCAA National Championship tournament. After a 27-30 loss in game one, the Cougars fought back to win three straight, 32-30, 30-28, 30-24 and improve to 27-4 on the season.

"We were passing the ball well tonight," BYU head coach Tom Peterson said. "Carlos [Moreno] was able to set anybody and Joe [Hillman] had a great match. He's the key to our team's success tonight. When we're able to hit well from the right side, we're hard to beat. It was a good team effort."

The Cougars hit an impressive .422 for the match, connecting on 72 kills on 135 swings with just 15 errors. Hillman posted a match-high 19 kills with only three errors to record a .500 average. Middle blocker Michael Burke also hit with high efficiency, racking up 14 kills on 19 swings with no errors to hit a blistering .737 on the night. Jonathan Alleman had 15 kills, while Pessoa tacked on 14 for the Cougars.

"Offensively we were very exciting," Peterson said. "I think we were able to frustrate Long Beach State a little."

The 49'ers were led by Jeff Wooton, who totaled a team-leading 17 kills. Scott Touzinsky and Duncan Budinger each had 14 kills for the Beach. With the loss, Long Beach State drops to 27-6 on the season. Despite the loss, head coach Alan Knipe said he was proud of his team, and is looking forward to a few days to prepare for the NCAA tournament in Hawaii.

"It was a great match tonight," Knipe said. "Those games could have gone either way. BYU is a good team with a big crowd. They set off their crowd when they got things going. Give them [BYU] all the credit in the world.

"Our guys felt very confident that they could win those games. I was proud of them in that first game. As the game went on though, we played harder and tried to do too much, we pressed. I'm proud of the guys. Now we've got a few days to prepare for Thursday's match in Hawaii. We're going to give a lot of respect to whoever it is we play on Thursday night."

In game one, after Hillman picked up his sixth kill of the game with a soft tip over the LBSU block to tie the score at 23-23, the 49'ers went on a three-point run to take a 26-23 advantage. A Burke kill cut the Beach lead back to 25-26, but a Robert Tarr kill and a Pessoa net violation gave the 49'ers another three-point advantage at 28-25. Alleman later cut the lead to 27-29, but Touzinsky ended the game with his team-leading fifth kill of the game.

"I was proud about the first game," Knipe said. "We stuck to our game plan, and with a big crowd and a championship game on the line, we didn't try to do too much."

In game two, Long Beach State held a four-point advantage after a David Lee put the 49'ers up 27-23. Down four points with only a few more serves remaining in the game, it looked as though Long Beach State would take a 2-0 lead in the match. However, the Cougars went on a 4-0 run to cut the deficit to 26-27. After a LBSU timeout, Hillman picked up his second straight kill to tie the game at 27-27. The two teams traded serves through a 30-30 tie before back-to-back Long Beach State errors gave the Cougars a hard-fought 32-30 victory.

"I don't know what it is that gets us into a rhythm like that," Peterson said. "It's not because we're too relaxed. We just need to be more consistent with our ball control. Long Beach State does that very well. They excel in serve and serve-receive."

Knowing game two got away from them, the 49'ers fought back to take a five-point lead in game three and looked to be in control once again. However, with a crowd of nearly 3,200 packed in to the Smith Fieldhouse behind them, the Cougars came charging back. A LBSU attack error tied things up at 22-22, then after trading serves, Moreno recorded the Cougars' only ace of the match to give BYU a 24-23 lead and bring the crowd to its feet. Victor Batista and Chris Gorny tag-teamed to block a Long Beach State attack, giving the Cougars a three-point advantage, 26-23. Touzinsky tied things up at 27-27 before BYU took a 29-28 advantage. The game ended on the very next play when Burke and Moreno registered another block for the Cougars.

In the final game of the match, BYU took and early lead and never looked back. The Cougars took a late six-point advantage at 26-0 and cruised to the finish line with a 30-24 win to complete the come-from-behind victory.

With the win, the top-ranked Cougars are the likely choice for the top seed at the NCAA Championships in Honolulu, which is scheduled to begin Thursday, May 6. Peterson said he expects to face Lewis University, the team that defeated the Cougars last season in the NCAA National Championship match.

"I don't want to say I'm excited too much," Peterson said. "We still have two more matches to win. I would guess we will be playing Lewis University. They are a very good team. They're probable the hot team right now out of the Midwest. We'll have to be prepared, we will not be looking past Lewis."

Volleyball Box Score

2004 BYU Men's Volleyball Stats

No. 2 Long Beach St. vs BRIGHAM YOUNG (May 01, 2004 at Provo, Ut)

No. 2 Long Beach St. | ATTACK |SET| SERVE |SRV|DEF| BLOCK |GEN

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

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

2 Wootton, Jeff....... 0| 17 6 31 .355| 2| 0 5| 0| 8| 0 3 1| 0| 18.5

5 Hildebrand, Tyler... 0| 3 1 6 .333| 60| 2 1| 0| 5| 0 5 0| 1| 7.5

9 Touzinsky, Scott.... 0| 14 12 41 .049| 0| 0 4| 0| 6| 0 3 1| 0| 15.5

17 Budinger, Duncan.... 0| 14 2 19 .632| 0| 0 1| 0| 1| 0 3 0| 0| 15.5

21 Lee, David.......... 0| 5 4 19 .053| 1| 1 2| 0| 3| 0 6 0| 0| 9.0

24 Tarr, Robert........ 0| 14 2 29 .414| 1| 2 2| 0| 4| 0 1 1| 0| 16.5

4 Coe, Clint.......... 0| 0 0 0 .000| 0| 0 0| 0| 1| 0 0 0| 0| 0.0

8 Hagstrom, Nathan.... 0| 0 0 0 .000| 0| 0 1| 0| 1| 0 0 0| 0| 0.0

11 Kijewski, Robert.... 0| 0 0 0 .000| 0| 0 0| 0| 1| 0 0 0| 0| 0.0

14 Sliti, Yassir....... 0| 2 0 2 1.000| 0| 0 0| 0| 0| 0 0 0| 1| 2.0

20 Munoz, Paul......... 0| 0 0 0 .000| 2| 0 0| 1| 7| 0 0 0| 0| 0.0

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

Totals.............. 4| 69 27 147 .286| 66| 5 16| 1| 37| 0 21 3| 2| 84.5

TEAM ATTACK PER GAME TOTAL TEAM BLOCKS: 10.5

Game K E TA Pct

1 18 4 34 .412 GAME SCORES 1 2 3 4 TEAM RECORDS

2 20 6 38 .368 No. 2 Long Beach St. 30 30 28 24 27-6,18-4 MPSF

3 13 9 39 .103 BRIGHAM YOUNG....... 27 32 30 30 27-4,20-2 MPSF

4 18 8 36 .278

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...... 4| 14 0 19 .737| 0| 0 3| 0| 1| 0 7 0| 0| 17.5

5 MORENO, Carlos...... 4| 3 2 7 .143| 66| 1 4| 0| 5| 1 5 1| 1| 7.5

11 HILLMAN, Joe........ 4| 19 3 32 .500| 1| 0 1| 0| 2| 0 2 0| 0| 20.0

12 ALLEMAN, Jonathan... 4| 15 4 29 .379| 0| 0 3| 0| 6| 0 5 0| 1| 17.5

17 PESSOA, Fernando.... 4| 14 4 25 .400| 1| 0 2| 0| 12| 0 5 2| 0| 16.5

18 BATISTA, Victor..... 4| 7 2 23 .217| 0| 0 4| 0| 2| 0 8 1| 0| 11.0

7 GORNY, Chris........ 4| 0 0 0 .000| 0| 0 0| 0| 0| 0 1 0| 0| 0.5

10 CARPENTER, Cory..... 1| 0 0 0 .000| 0| 0 0| 0| 0| 0 0 0| 0| 0.0

14 NEILSON, Rob........ 4| 0 0 0 .000| 0| 0 1| 0| 0| 0 0 0| 0| 0.0

15 OLMSTEAD, Shawn..... 4| 0 0 0 .000| 3| 0 0| 5| 11| 0 0 0| 0| 0.0

20 EVANS, TAYLOR....... 2| 0 0 0 .000| 0| 0 0| 0| 0| 0 0 0| 0| 0.0

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

Totals.............. 4| 72 15 135 .422| 71| 1 18| 5| 39| 1 33 4| 2| 90.5

TEAM ATTACK PER GAME TOTAL TEAM BLOCKS: 17.5

Game K E TA Pct

1 20 4 38 .421 Site: Provo, Ut (Smith Fieldhouse)

2 20 1 35 .543 Date: May 01, 2004 Attend: 3175 Time: 2H 30M

3 16 7 34 .265 Referees: KEN TAYLOR, MARVIN HALL, VERNA KLUBNIKIN

4 16 3 28 .464

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