(Photo by Jaren Wilkey/BYU)
No. 1 BYU (17-3, 16-2 MPSF)
No. 5 Pepperdine (15-9, 11-7 MPSF)
USC (5-13, 5-13 MPSF)
PROVO, Utah – In its last two home matches of the regular season, the No. 1 BYU men’s volleyball team welcomes No. 5 Pepperdine Thursday and USC Saturday to the Smith Fieldhouse.
Thursday’s match kicks off at 7 p.m. MDT while Saturday’s match is slated for 8 p.m. MDT. Both matches will be broadcast live on BYUtv.
Four seniors will be honored on Saturday in Russ Lavaja, Ryan Boyce, Erik Mayer and Steve Rindfleisch.
The Cougars are ranked No. 1 in the AVCA national poll for the fourth-straight week and received all 16 first-place votes. BYU, sitting atop the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation standings, is riding a nine-match win streak.
Senior setter Ryan Boyce is this week’s AVCA National Player of the Week and MPSF Player of the Week. Boyce led the Cougars to straight-set wins at then-No. 9 CS Northridge and then-No. 4 Long Beach State. He averaged 12.17 assists, 2.17 digs and 1.67 blocks per set for the week.
The Cougars lead the MPSF in hitting percentage (.326), opponent hitting percentage (.234) and blocks (2.98).
Michael Hatch is first in the conference in blocks per set with 1.47. BYU has three players in the No. 4 position in hitting percentage, assists and service aces in Russ Lavaja (.471), Boyce (10.54) and Taylor Sander (.390), respectively.
The Waves are tied for fourth in the MPSF standings with UCLA and are coming off a 3-1 loss to USC.
Pepperdine is second in hitting percentage in the conference with a .314 attack, one spot behind BYU. The Waves also have the second-best average in kills (12.99), assists (12.45) and blocks (2.94).
Maurice Torres leads the MPSF in points with 5.04 per set and is second in kills with a 4.21 average. Matt West has the second-best assists average with 11.42.
Pepperdine owns the overall series with BYU, 28-22. The Cougars dropped the previous match-up with the Waves, 3-2, on Feb. 15. Pepperdine served BYU one of its two conference losses this season, along with Long Beach State.
The Trojans snapped a five-match losing streak with a 3-1 win over Pepperdine last week. During the win, USC served 12 aces, the second-most in the conference this year.
USC is third in the MPSF in service aces with a 1.27 average.
Micah Christenson sits at the top of the service aces category in the MPSF with 0.54 per set. Henry Cassiday is fourth in digs with a 2.35 average.
The Cougars lead the Trojans in the overall series with a 29-11 record. BYU came away with a 3-1 win over USC Feb. 16.
USC is three matches back in the MPSF Playoff race with six to play.
Live stats are available for the Pepperdine match and USC match. Follow @BYUvolleyball on Twitter for team and match updates.