PROVO -- The fifth-ranked BYU men's volleyball team came from behind to knock off top-ranked USC, 5-15, 15-7, 14-16, 17-15, 15-11, on Friday, recording its 37th straight victory in the Smith Fieldhouse. With the victory the Cougars improve to 11-3, 8-3, on the season, while USC drops to 10-2, 7-1.
"We got beat up pretty bad in game one," BYU head coach Carl McGown said. "We've been down several times during the season and like tonight, showed a lot of heart and the ability to fight back. Tonight's win is a real tribute to these players and their ability to hang in there."
In game one USC looked as if they would make quick work of the Cougars, jumping out to a 12-5 lead behind the offensive attack of Eli Fairfield, who picked up six of his match-leading 42 kills on the night. Trevor Julian and Beau Rawi each added five kills for the Trojans as USC hit over 47 percent at the net. USC held BYU to a season-low .048 hitting percentage by out-blocking the Cougars, 4.0-2.5. USC also added 13 digs, while the BYU defense managed just eight digs in the game. Scott Bunker and Jaime Mayol would team for a block assist to cut the USC lead to 12-5, but the Trojans rolled to a 15-5 win, capped by Rawi's game-winning kill.
In the second game of the match, BYU turned things around hitting .353, while holding USC to an 18.6 percent effort at the net. Mike Wall recorded six of his team leading 23 kills in game two, while the BYU defense outblocked the Trojans, 7.5 to 1.0. Junior Mac Wilson led the BYU defense with four block assists, while Wall, Mayol and Bunker chipped in three blocks each. The Cougars took a 6-2 advantage before USC made a run to cut the lead to 6-4. From that point on, the Cougar offense went on a 9-3 run to cap the 15-7 win.
The Cougars looked to take a 2-1 advantage in the match after taking a 12-7 lead in game three. Amid a series of sideouts, BYU extended its lead to 14-12 and was serving for game point. The top-ranked Trojans showed their poise and tied things up at 14-14 on a BYU hitting error. Fairfield capped the USC comeback, scoring the Trojan's 15th and 16th points to seal the come-from-behind victory, 16-14. Fairfield chalked up a game-high 14 kills in game three.
In game four, the two teams battled to a 15-15 tie, with neither team taking more than a two-point advantage throughout the entire game. BYU grabbed the 16-15 lead on a Matt Olsen solo block and would serve through six game-point opportunities before Wall and Olsen teamed to block a USC attack to tie the match at 2-2.
In the final game of the match, USC jumped out to a 5-2 lead before the Cougars went on an 8-1 run. A balanced Cougar offensive attack from that point proved to be the difference as five different Cougars added kills to take the 14-11 lead. In front of 5,285 anxious fans in the Smith Fieldhouse, Wilson chalked up his 20th kill of the match as the crowd stormed the court and the Cougars battled back in their fifth five-game match of the season.
With Friday's five-game thriller, the Cougars have taken No. 1 USC, No. 2 Long Beach State and No. 3 Pepperdine all to five-game matches throughout the season. The win marks the fourth straigh over the Trojans, as the Cougars improve their all-time series record to 9-6 against USC.
BYU will continue its homestand on Friday, Feb. 25th, taking on UC San Diego and San Diego State on Saturday, Feb. 26. Both matches are slated for 7 p.m. (MST) in the Smith Fieldhouse.
Short Box Score (Final)
USC Trojans vs Brigham Young (Feb 18, 2000 at Provo, Utah)
Brigham Young def. USC Trojans 5-15,15-7,14-16,17-15,15-11
USC Trojans (10-2, 7-1) (Kills-aces-blocks) - FAIRFIELD, Eli 42-0-3;
RAWI, Beau 25-0-7; JULIAN, Trevor 23-0-4; THURLOW, Ryan 16-2-4;
DUSHAME, Mark 10-0-7; SUXHO, Donald 4-0-4; DAY, Josh 0-0-1; Totals
120-2-17.0. (Assists) - SUXHO, Donald 108. (Dig leaders) - BURDEN,
GREG 21; JULIAN, Trevor 11; FAIRFIELD, Eli 10; THURLOW, Ryan 10;
SUXHO, Donald 10
Brigham Young (11-3, 8-3) (Kills-aces-blocks) - WALL, Mike 25-0-7;
ACOSTA, Joaquin 23-0-4; MAYOL, Jaime 21-0-6; WILSON, Mac 20-1-10;
OLSEN, Matt 9-0-7; BUNKER, Scott 8-0-7; PITZAK, Chris 3-0-8; Totals
109-1-25.0. (Assists) - PITZAK, Chris 96. (Dig leaders) - GOLDSTON,
Brad 18; PITZAK, Chris 11; ACOSTA, Joaquin 8
Site: Provo, Utah (Smith Fieldhouse)
Date: Feb 18, 2000 Attend: 5285 Time: 3:00
Referees: Tom Given, Les Calles, DJM;JDM;MA;RG;ST
BYU wins 37th straight in Smith Fieldhouse