Fifth-Ranked Pepperdine Coming to Town

Sophomore Victor Batista and No.1-ranked Cougars host Pepperdine, Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m. (Photo by Jaren Wilkey/BYU Photo)

PROVO -- The No. 1-ranked Cougars (13-3, 11-1 MPSF) will look to avenge preseason losses to Pepperdine, as they host the fifth-ranked Waves on Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m. Saturday's match against Pepperdine will be broadcast on KBYU and BYUTV.

For the first time this season, the BYU men's volleyball team is ranked No. 1, tied with UCLA in the USA Today/AVCA Top 15 Coaches' Poll. The Cougars moved up from third to first place in the national poll and for the second straight week, BYU holds the top spot in conference with the best league record, 11-1.

"Pepperdine is a very good team, it's a wonder they have lost four matches," head coach Tom Peterson. "They cause a match-up problem with height because they have two tall hitters with All-American experience."

The match-up this weekend will be the 30th meeting between the two teams since 1990, as Pepperdine leads the series 12-17 overall and BYU leads 7-6 in Provo. Last season, the Cougars won 2-of-3 matches against the Waves, coming back from 0-2 in the MPSF Tournament Finals to advance to the NCAA Tournament. BYU is 9-0 in five-game matches with Pepperdine.

"These are the most important home matches for us the rest of the season," Peterson said. "They are a very well-coached team and we'll have to be at our best this weekend to beat them."

BYU will be traveling next week to Hawai`i to take on the No.5-ranked Warriors on Mar. 18 and 20, starting at 7 p.m. both nights. Saturday's match will be broadcast on CSTV for tape delay.

During last week, BYU hosted No.6-ranked UC Santa Barbara and finished with two wins, both in three games. Keeping a 12-match win streak alive, the Cougars hold the longest winning streak in the nation. The game scores for the match were 30-26, 30-24, 30-27. The Gauchos dropped to 10-8 overall, 6-7 in league play.

This 12-match winning streak ties the third longest streak in BYU history. The 1999 team holds the longest streak with 18 as well as a 12-match streak for third place. The 1997 team holds a 13-match winning streak.

BYU picked up the first win over the UCSB on Friday of last week, 3-0 (30-26, 30-26, 30-21). The Cougars came back from being down six in the first game. The team fought back to tie at 24-24 and then went on a 6-1 run to end game one. BYU delivered a 9-0 lead in game three, finishing 30-21 in the final game.

The promotions for this week include group rates at $25 on Friday for volleyball clubs around the area. Saturday night is Aloha night where fans can dress up and receive free prizes from BYU Athletics.

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