Holmes Named National Player of the Week

Russell Holmes was named the Sports Imports/AVCA National Player of the Week for the now No. 1 BYU team. (Photo by Jaren Wilkey/BYU Photo)

BYU Tabbed Unanimous No. 1 by Coaches

PROVO -- Reigning All-American and 2007 All-America candidate Russell Holmes has been named the Sports Imports/American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) National Player of the Week for his efforts at the Outrigger Hotels Invitational in Honolulu over the weekend.

"Russell had a nice weekend--as did our entire team," co-head coach Ryan Millar said. "He hit the ball well, blocked it well and was a great leader on the court. He very much deserves this honor."

Holmes led his team to two top-15 sweeps this weekend at the Outrigger Hotels Invitational at Hawai'i, as the Cougars' record improves to 8-0 to begin the 2007 season. Against then-No. 9 Penn State on Friday, Holmes planted 11 kills on 15 attempts, hitting .667. He also added two digs and six total blocks. The next night against then-No. 13 Loyola-Chicago, the Cougar captain tallied seven kills on 13 attempts, hitting .462, and added five total blocks.

For the tournament, Holmes averaged 3.0 kills, 1.83 blocks and 4.83 points per game, while hitting .571, a performance worthy of the Outrigger Invitational Most Outstanding Player.

"There were four very good teams at the tournament," Millar said. "To play how he did against the competition made him very deserving of this honor."

Holmes' award marks the fifteenth time a BYU men's volleyball player has won the Sports Imports/AVCA Division I-II National Player of the Week award, the last coming in January of 2006 when Ivan Perez was honored.

After a dominating weekend that saw BYU sweep two top-15 opponents, the Cougars now top the AVCA/CSTV Top-15 poll for the first time this season.

BYU, now 8-0 (4-0 MPSF) got all 16 of the first-place votes making the Cougars the only team this season to earn a unanimous No. 1 ranking.

Despite losing on Saturday to Pepperdine, UC Irvine remained ranked No. 2 in the poll setting up this weekend's No.1 against No. 2 showdown at the Smith Fieldhouse. The Cougars take on the Anteaters Friday and Saturday evening at the Smith Fieldhouse. UC Irvine defeated BYU twice last season, which was the last time the Cougars held a No. 1 ranking (media poll).

The last time BYU was ranked first in the coaches poll was Jan. 11, 2005.