Cougars Earn Top Seed

PROVO -- After winning the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation regular-season title, and earning the league's automatic bid with a 3-1 win over Long Beach State in the MPSF tournament on Saturday, the top-ranked BYU men's volleyball team had confirmed on Sunday what it already suspected. The NCAA Men's Volleyball selection committee announced BYU will enter the 2004 National Championship tournament as the No. 1 seed.

"It's a great honor," BYU head coach Tom Peterson said following the announcement. "With the top seed comes a great deal of expectation. We've played well all season, and we don't expect that to change. We've accomplished so many of our goals already, but we have two more. We want to win two more matches this season and win the National Championship."

ESPN volleyball analyst Heather Cox said during the ESPNEWS broadcast, the Cougars are deserving of the top seed.

"I think BYU is the team to beat," Cox said. "They're hungry, they're mad from last year, and I think they have incredible depth. Look for some great match-ups. Again parity is the key, but I give the nod to BYU right now."

The Cougars will take on 13th ranked Lewis University (19-13) in semifinal action on Thursday, May 6 at the Stan Sheriff Center (10,300) in Honolulu, Hawaii. Since losing to BYU on March 26, the Flyers have won six of their last eight matches, including a 3-1 win over Ohio State and a 3-2 win over Ball State to win the MIVA tournament on Saturday.

The semifinal match will be a rematch of the 2003 NCAA National Championship contest, but Peterson said this tournament isn't about revenge.

"Thursday's match against Lewis is not about revenge," Peterson said. "It's going to be about winning a match at the Final Four. It's about taking care of business so we have a chance to play for the National Championship on Saturday."

The other semifinal contest will feature the No. 2 seed Long Beach State against the No. 3 seed Penn State.

The Cougars' semifinal match against Lewis is scheduled to begin at 12 midnight (MDT) on Thursday. The match will be broadcast, tape-delayed on ESPN2, beginning at 12 noon (MDT) on Friday. The National Championship match will be televised live on ESPN2, beginning at 8 p.m. (MDT) on Saturday, May 8.