First road trip of the season for No. 1 BYU

(Photo by BYU Photo/Jonathan Hardy)

T-No.1 BYU (8-2, 7-1 MPSF)
No. 5 Pepperdine (5-4, 5-4 MPSF)
No. 10 USC (2-5, 2-5 MPSF)

PROVO, Utah - After ten straight home matches, the No. 1 BYU men’s volleyball team gears up for its first road trip of the season as it visits No. 5 Pepperdine Feb. 15 and No. 10 USC Feb. 16.

The American Volleyball Coaches Association ranked BYU No. 1 for the fourth-straight week. The last time the Cougars accomplished the feat was in 2008 when BYU held the top spot for seven-straight weeks between Jan. 8 – Feb. 19.

BYU, also ranked No. 1 in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation, leads the conference in hitting percentage (.344) and in blocks (3.19 per set). The Cougars are ranked third in opponent hitting percentage, holding opposing teams to a .231 clip.

BYU is home to the leading blocker in the MPSF in Russ Lavaja with 1.46 blocks per set. Lavaja is also ranked fourth in hitting percentage with a .484 clip.

Junior All-American Taylor Sander leads BYU in kills with a 3.97 average. Sander has recorded double-digit kills in all ten matches of the season. Next in line is freshman Ben Patch with 3.05 per set.

Last weekend, the Cougars edged out then-No. 15 UCSB 3-2 before sweeping then-No. 6 UCLA.

Pepperdine

Pepperdine holds five top-5 conference team rankings. The Waves are No. 3 in assists (12.09), No. 4 in hitting percentage (.308) and blocks (2.85), and No. 5 in kills (12.76) and service aces (1.21).

Sophomore Matt West holds the top-spot in assists in the MPSF with an average of 11.18. West has also recorded 13 service aces on the season.

BYU captured 3-0 and 3-1 wins against Pepperdine last season. The Waves lead the overall series 27-22 and are 19-8 at home against the Cougars. Despite the series record, BYU has not lost at Pepperdine since 2009.

The Waves split their matches last weekend, coming away with a 3-0 win at then-No. 3 Long Beach State before dropping a 3-2 contest at then-No. 10 Cal State Northridge.

Before hosting BYU, Pepperdine takes on No. 11 Cal Baptist Wednesday.

USC

The Trojans are ranked in the top-5 in three categories in the MPSF. USC is No. 2 in assists (12.28) and blocks (3.00), and No. 3 in kills (12.92).

Sophomore Ben Lam holds the second-best blocks average in the conference with 1.42 per set.

BYU grabbed both wins against USC in 2012, edging out the Trojans 3-1 and 3-2. The Cougars own the overall series with a 28-11 record. BYU is 10-7 when playing at USC.

USC is coming off losses at then-No. 10 Cal State Northridge 3-1 and then-No. 3 Long Beach State 3-1. The Trojans are on a four-match losing streak, their longest since a similar skid at the end of the 2008 season and start of the 2009 season.

USC hosts No. 11 Cal Baptist Thursday before welcoming BYU on Saturday.

Fans can view live stats for the Pepperdine match here and for the match against USC here. BYU vs. USC will also be video streamed live through the Pac-12.org portal.

Match updates can also be found on Twitter by following @BYUvolleyball.

AttachmentSize
BYU vs. Pepperdine/USC notes.pdf1.51 MB