PROVO -- The seventh-ranked BYU men's volleyball team recorded its 40th straight victory in the Smith Fieldhouse on Saturday, knocking off Rutgers-Newark, 15-12, 15-8, 15-10. The win improves BYU's overall record to 16-6, while the Scarlet Raiders drop to 7-12 on the season.
"Rutgers had a few players with some live arms," BYU head coach Carl McGown said. "Fortunately, our middle blockers played well and were basically unchallenged at the net.
"I thought we passed well and dug a lot of balls. Tonight was just kind of a workman-like effort. We played without a lot of emotion and just did our jobs. We're going to have to play with a lot more enthusiasm next weekend if we hope to compete with Ohio State."
Outside hitter Mike Wall led the Cougars with 22 kills on the night, while middle blocker Mac Wilson posted a season-high 17 kills. Matt Olsen came off the bench to hit a perfect 4-for-4, while middle blocker Scott Bunker hit a stellar 8-for-10 (.700) with just one error on the night. The middle blocking trio of Wilson, Bunker and Olsen combined for 10 of the Cougars' 20 blocks, including a match-high seven blocks from Wilson. Wall finished the night with five blocks as the Cougars outblocked Rutgers 10.0 - 3.0. The BYU defense also produced 23 digs, led by Joaquin Acosta's six digs, while Rutgers tallied just 16 digs during the match.
Jason Hamernick led the Scarlet Raiders with 20 kills, including 12 in game one. Christos Tsamadias added 19 kills for Rutgers, while Danko Iordanov chipped in 12.
In game one, the Cougars jumped out to a 6-2 lead on a Jaime Mayol kill before the Scarlet Raiders came charging back, pulling to within three at 12-9. Tsamadias picked up two of his match-high six aces to cut the Cougar lead to 13-12 on back-to-back aces. Wall and Bunker came up with a block assist to end the Rutgers' run, as the Cougars held on after a Jeremy Hoff hitting error for the 15-12 win.
In game two, the Scarlet Raiders cut the BYU lead to 6-5 on a Tsamadias kill before BYU pulled out to a 13-6 lead on a Casey Jennings kill. Jennings would end the game a couple plays later with his third kill of the match on a Wilson assist.
With things knotted at 6-6 in game three, the Cougars went on a 6-0 run, including a stretch of four straight points to take a 12-6 lead. Olsen forced match point with a block, but the Scarlet Raiders held on to battle through 10 different BYU match-point opportunities. The match came to an end on a Rutgers'blocking error.
BYU will next play host to nationally-ranked Ohio State on Friday and Saturday, March 24-25 in the Smith Fieldhouse. Both matches are scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. (MST).
Short Box Score (Final)
Rutgers-Newark vs Brigham Young (Mar 18, 2000 at Provo, Utah)
Brigham Young def. Rutgers-Newark 15-12,15-8,15-10
Rutgers-Newark (7-12) (Kills-aces-blocks) - HAMERNICK, Jason 20-0-1;
TSAMADIAS, Christos 19-6-0; IORDANOV, Danko 12-0-2; BURROW, Ryan
7-0-0; HOFF, Jeremy 5-0-1; GOERS, Chris 0-0-1; Totals 63-6-3.0.
(Assists) - GOERS, Chris 57. (Dig leaders) - HAMERNICK, Jason 9;
BURROW, Ryan 4
Brigham Young (16-6) (Kills-aces-blocks) - WALL, Mike 22-0-5; WILSON,
Mac 17-1-7; BUNKER, Scott 8-0-2; MAYOL, Jaime 8-0-0; JENNINGS, Casey
7-0-2; ACOSTA, Joaquin 5-0-2; OLSEN, Matt 4-0-1; PITZAK, Chris 2-2-1;
Totals 73-3-10.0. (Assists) - PITZAK, Chris 58. (Dig leaders) - WALL,
Mike 7; ACOSTA, Joaquin 6
Site: Provo, Utah (Smith Fieldhouse)
Date: Mar 18, 2000 Attend: 1184 Time: 1:40
Referees: Tom Given, Les Calles, DJM;JDM;MA;RG.ST;MK
BYU's 40th straight win in the Smith Fieldhouse