Provo, Utah (March 26, 2002) -- Having won six straight matches, including a pair of 3-0 victories over ninth-ranked Cal State Northridge last weekend, the fourth-ranked BYU men's volleyball team will take on No. 5 UC Santa Barbara in the final two home matches of the season. To make things more interesting, the Cougars have just six league matches remaining and will need a pair of victories this weekend to keep their title hopes alive.
"UC Santa Barbara is a tough team; they're a lot like us," BYU head coach Carl McGown said. "They are a small team, but very athletic. I think what you're going to see is a lot of explosive volleyball this weekend. We're just looking to improve and maybe get some momentum for a run at the playoffs. This is a really important weekend for us, and we're hoping to get the fans out and help us out."
Currently in fourth place in the MPSF with an 11-5 record, the Cougars play host to fifth-ranked UC Santa Barbara (14-6, 10-6) on Thursday and Friday in the Smith Fieldhouse. Both matches are scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. (MST). A win on Thursday would give the Cougars 12 league wins and secure a spot in the 2002 post-season MPSF Tournament. While UCLA, Pepperdine and Hawaii have already clinched a spot, the race for the regular-season champion has yet to be determined. The top four seeds will host first-round tournament action on Saturday, April 20.
While the Cougars hold a slim lead over Stanford (11-6) for fourth place, UC Santa Barbara is just one game behind BYU at 10-6 in league play. The Cougars are just one game behind Hawaii, who have yet to host both BYU and UCLA. UCLA is in second with a 14-2 mark, while Pepperdine currently leads the MPSF with a 15-2 record. After this week's matches, BYU will travel to UC San Diego and Hawaii to round out the 2002 schedule.