Fifth-Ranked Cougars Set to Battle No. 1 USC

This Week's Schedule

Match 13

No. 5 BYU vs. No. 1 USC

Friday, Feb. 18 • 7 p.m. (MST)

Smith Fieldhouse • Provo, Utah

The fifth-ranked BYU men's volleyball team (10-3, 7-3) picked up its 36th straight win in the Smith Fieldhouse last Saturday, defeating Loyola Marymount, 15-3, 15-11, 17-15. The win marked the 18th straight victory over the Lions, dating back to the 1992. Including Saturday's 3-0 victory, BYU has not lost a single game to LMU since March 7, 1997, extending the Cougars' single-game win streak to 20 over the Lions. Friday's 3-0 win against LMU marked BYU head coach Carl McGown's 150th career victory at BYU.

The Rivalry (BYU vs. USC)

Friday's match against USC will mark the 15th overall meeting between the two schools. The Cougars own a slight 8-6 advantage in the series that dates back to Feb. 3, 1990. USC won the first four matches from 1990 to 1992, however the Cougars have won eight of the last 10 meetings, including a stretch of three straight wins. BYU defeated USC twice last year, a 3-1 regular-season win in Los Angeles and a 3-1 victory in Provo at the MPSF Tournament. In three-game matches, the series is tied at 3-3, while the Cougars own four-game matches with a perfect 4-0 mark. In five-game matches, the Trojans have won three of four.

Scouting The Trojans

USC enters Friday's match ranked as the No. 1 team in the nation. The Trojans are 10-1 on the season, including Tuesday night's MPSF victory over UC Santa Barbara. USC dropped the Gauchos in three straight, 15-11, 15-13, 15-11. USC's only loss of the season came at the hands of Pepperdine on Jan. 7, falling 9-15, 15-7, 6-15, 8-15. As a team USC is hitting .367, connecting on 910 of 1595 swings. The Trojan defense has held its opponents to a .267 attack percentage, allowing just 698 kills on 1482 attempts. USC averages 7.0 digs per game, while limiting its opponents to 5.7 per game. The USC front line has produced an average 2.5 blocks per game, while the opposition has created an equal challenge, averaging 2.4 blocks per game. The Trojans are led by Brook Billings, who ranks second in the nation, averaging 6.97 kills per game. Billings has produced a team-leading 264 kills on the season and is hitting nearly 37 percent (.367) at the net. Donald Suxho, the only senior on the USC roster, anchors the offensive attack, averaging 18.63 assists per game. On defense, the Trojans are led by Beau Rawi who has produced a team-leading 45 blocks, averaging 1.17 per game.

Last Week (vs. Loyola Marymount)

The fifth-ranked Cougars picked up their ninth and 10th wins of the season, defeating No. 8 Loyola Marymount, 3-0, on Friday and, 3-0, on Saturday. The two straight 3-0 victories marked the 17th and 18th straight victory over LMU, dating back to Feb. 8, 1992. The Cougars have not lost a single game to the Lions since March 7, 1997, spanning a streak 20 straight games. Mac Wilson made his return to the BYU lineup after missing the first 11 games of the season with a broken finger. Wilson made an immediate impact for the Cougars, racking up a team-leading 16 kills on 22 attempts without a single error (.727). Wilson also chalked up a match-high 13 blocks on the night in leading the Cougars to two come-from-behind victories in the match, 16-14, 17-16, 15-4. On Saturday, a balanced offensive effort paced BYU to a 15-3, 15-11, 17-15 win over the Lions. Mike Wall (16), Wilson (11), Matt Olsen (15), Jaime Mayol (11) ad Joaquin Acosta (11) each had double figures in kills as the Cougars out-played LMU at the net, .340 to .161.

Three and Out

In the Cougars' 13 matches this season, seven have been decided in just three games. BYU twice blanked nationally-ranked Lewis in Provo on Jan. 14-15 and then handed Stanford a three-game sweep on Jan. 19, marking the second straight season the Cougars have beaten the Cardinal in three straight games. Most recently, BYU downed eight-ranked Loyola Marymount in back-to-back 3-0 wins. Since the 1998 season, BYU has won a total 39 (of 66) matches in three games, while the Cougars have only been defeated in three straight on four different occasions. The Cougars fell to third-ranked Pepperdine, 3-0, on Feb. 3, marking the first time since April 4, 1998 BYU had lost a match in three straight games. The streak extended a stretch of 43 matches without a three-game defeat. During that time, the Cougars registered 26 3-0 wins, including a BYU single-season record during its Championship run in 1999 with 21, 3-0 victories. In fact, the Cougars have lost only twice in the past 37 matches with both matches lasting five games. All-time, the Cougars are 79-57 in three-game matches. Following is a breakdown of the Cougars all-time record in three, four and five-game match.

Three-Games Four Games Five Games

79-57 (.581) 44-31 (.587) 28-26 (.463)

BYU Head Coach Carl McGown

Carl McGown is in his 11th season of NCAA competition at BYU with an overall record of 151-114 (.570), including a school record 30-1 mark last season. McGown picked up career win No. 150 on Feb. 11, 2000, defeating eight-ranked Loyola Marymount, 3-0. Since 1997 McGown has led the Cougars to an amazing 76-16 (.826) record, averaging over 22 wins per season. The all-time winningest coach in BYU men's volleyball history led the Cougars to their first-ever NCAA National Championship in 1999, posting a 30-1 overall record and an 18-1 mark in the Mountain Division of the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation. McGown and BYU began NCAA competition in 1990 after winning three national club titles and finishing second in 1986 and 1989. He paced the Cougars to five top-10 finishes in the past six seasons, including No. 1 in 1999, No. 7 in 1998, No. 4 in 1997, No. 5 in 1995 and No. 2 in 1994. Following the 1999 season, McGown was named the AVCA National Coach of the Year. Over the past 10 seasons, McGown has coached nine different All-Americans, eight players who have gone on to professional careers and eight players who have represented the United States at various levels of international competition. In addition, three other former BYU players have represented their native countries in international competition. McGown served as head coach of the USA men's team from 1973-1976 and became a technical advisor to the National Team in 1980. Since then, McGown has coached in four different Olympic Games, including the 1984 Games in Los Angeles, the 1988 Games in Soul, the 1992 Games in Barcelona and the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta. McGown has also coached the National Team in seven different World Championships, including 1970, '74, '82, '86, '90, '94 and '99. McGown has also coached in the World University Games, as well as the Pan American Games.

BYU Volleyball ... It's FANTASTIC!

Of the 24 matches around the country to hit the 1,000-attendance mark, BYU has played in 10 of those matches, marking the most appearances in front of 1,000 or more fans of any team in the nation. All seven of the Cougars' home matches have exceeded 1,000 fans, including the season-opener when 5,735 fans filled the Smith Fieldhouse. BYU is averaging 2,757 fans over seven matches. Last season BYU set an NCAA single-match attendance record on Feb. 19 with 14,156 fans in attendance against Hawai'i (at the Marriott Center). The Cougars recorded an all-time high 3,037.2 fans per match during the 1999 season, including a record 4,748.2 in Provo.

2000 NCAA Men's Volleyball Attendance Highs

7,050 - Penn State vs. IPFW at Hawai'i, Jan. .28

5,895 - BYU at Hawai'i, Jan. 21

5,735 - Loyola Chicago at Brigham Young, Jan. 8

5,500 - UCLA vs. Penn State at Hawai'i, Jan. 26

5,298 - UC-Irvine at Hawai'i, Feb. 4

5,210 - Penn State vs. Hawai'i, Jan. 27

5,082 - IPFW vs. UCLA at Hawai'i, Jan. 26

4,865 - Loyola Chicago at Hawai'i, Jan. 14

4,707 - Loyola Chicago at Hawai'i, Jan. 13

2,765 - Cal State Northridge at BYU, Jan. 29

2,558 - Lewis at BYU, Jan. 15

2,465 - Cal State Northridge at BYU, Jan. 28

2,463 - Lewis at BYU, Jan. 14

2,287 - USC at UCLA, Feb. 4

2,246 - Loyola Marymount at BYU, Feb. 11

2,075 - UCLA at Pepperdine, Feb. 10

1,440 - BYU at Long Beach State, Feb. 2

1,315 - Stanford at Long Beach State, Jan. 28

1,250 - UC-Irvine at Pepperdine, Jan. 29

1,200 - BYU at Pepperdine, Feb. 5

1,200 - USC at Penn State, Jan. 15

1,100 - USC at Penn State, Jan. 14

1,067 - Loyola Marymount at BYU, Feb. 12

1,017 - UCLA at Stanford, Jan. 22

Home Court Quick Hits

• The Cougars have won a record 36 straight matches in the Smith Fieldhouse, dating back to a Mar. 28, 1997 loss to UCLA.

•BYU's current Smith Fieldhouse win streak ranks as the third all-time longest homecourt win streak in NCAA men's volleyball history. UCLA owns the top two win streaks (83, 42).

• Since the beginning of the 1997 season, BYU has won 46 of its last 49 matches in Provo, including 33 of its last 34 matches. The Cougars have lost just three times in Provo over a span of 49 matches, posting an impressive .939 homecourt winning percentage.

• The Cougars' all-time record 23 consecutive "home" victories came to an end on March 19, 1999, when Long Beach State upset the Cougars, 2-3, in the Marriott Center. Since then, BYU has gone on to win 13 straight home matches -- all in the Smith Fieldhouse.

Acosta Named MPSF Player of the Week (Jan. 21)

BYU outside hitter Joaquin Acosta was named the MPSF Player of the Week on Jan. 21 after leading the Cougars to a 2-1 record on the week. Acosta, a native of San Juan, Puerto Rico, tallied 67 kills on the week, averaging 5.15 kills per game, and added 16 blocks. Acosta picked up 19 kills in a 2-3 loss at Pacific, collected a team-high 18 kills in a 3-0 win over Stanford and recorded a career-high 30 kills in a 3-2 marathon victory at Hawai'i.

Double Your Pleasure

The Cougars have recorded 18 double-double performances on the season, led by junior middle Scott Bunker. The 6-5 middle blocker has produced a team-leading five double-double performances on the season, including a 14 kill, 10-block performance against Loyola Marymount last weekend. On six different occasions this season, BYU has had at least two players with double-doubles, including the Cougars' Jan. 21st performance at Hawai'i in which four BYU players registered double-double performances. (Matt Olsen, 12 kills, 15 blocks; Casey Jennings 21 kills, 13 digs; Jaime Mayol 22 kills, 10 digs; Joaquin Acosta 30 kills, 10 digs.) Following is a breakdown showing the different combinations in which the Cougars have registered each of their double-double performances:

Double-Double Performance Breakdown

Kills/Blocks 9

Kills/Digs 7

Assists/Blocks 1

Assists/Digs 1

Big Mac is Back

After missing the first 11 matches of the season, All-Conference performer Mac Wilson returned to the BYU lineup on Feb. 11 against eighth-ranked Loyola Marymount. With the Cougars trailing in game-one of the match, 4-7, Wison entered the game and immediately took control. Wilson went a perfect 6-for-6 at the net in game one and was credited with an ace that tied things up at 12-12. With the score knotted at 14-14, the 6-10 middle blocker recorded back-to-back blocks to complete the come-from-behind victory, 16-14. In the match, Wilson hit an amazing 16-of-22 with no errors (.727) and recorded a match-high 13 blocks.

Cougar Quick Facts

• BYU has produced at least one All-American in nine of the past 10 seasons, including Ryan Millar, Ossie Antonetti and Hector Lebron who each earned All-America honors last season.

•The BYU defense has dominated its opponents at the net this season. The Cougars have out-blocked their opponents, 240-155.5. BYU is averaging 18.46 blocks per match, while its opponents are averaging only 11.96 per match.

• The Cougars are 7-2 on the season when producing 65 or more kills in a match.

• BYU has posted a perfect 6-0 record when hitting .350 or better on the season.

• BYU is 8-1 when out-blocking and 5-0 when out-digging the opposition.

• BYU setter Chris Pitzak tallied his 2300th career assist against CSUN and later overtook Jesse Gant for third place on the Cougar career assist list. Pitzak, who leads the nation averaging has 2,828 career assists and needs just 315 assists to pass current BYU All-American Hector Lebron for second place on BYU's all-time assist list . (Lebron is redshirting the 2000 season.)

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