Taylor Evans and the No. 1 BYU men's volleyball team will head to San Diego for two matches with UC San Diego. (Photo by Jaren Wilkey/BYU Photo)
COUGARS HEAD TO SAN DIEGO
BYU will head to UC San Diego for its second road trip of the season and play two matches versus the Tritons, Thursday and Saturday, Feb. 16 and 18. Following two home wins over USC, the Cougars are 10-2 overall and second in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation at 8-2.
"UC San Diego is the only division II team competing in our league," BYU coach Tom Peterson said. "While they are at a disadvantage in that aspect, they work very hard and are very well coached. We want to go in there and play our hardest and show that we respect them."
BYU is coming off back-to-back wins over USC in Provo and is ranked No. 1 in the CSTV/AVCA Division I-II Men's Coaches Top 15 Poll and the Volleyball Magazine poll. The Cougars started the season ranked No. 1 in the Volleyball Magazine poll but this is the first time they have been ranked in the top spot in the CSTV/AVCA poll.
The matches will be the 19th and 20th meetings between BYU and UC San Diego. The Cougars have dominated the series, leading 18-0, including 8-0 in San Diego. BYU has swept the Tritons 14 times and the teams have never player a five-game match.
Outside hitter Jon Daze leads UC San Diego in kills at 2.82 per game and adds 1.29 digs per game. Middle blocker Garret Smith leads the team in hitting percentage at .336 and averages 2.26 kills and 0.84 blocks. As a team, the Tritons are hitting .195 and average 2.12 blocks and 8.24 digs per game.
In the first match against USC last weekend, Jonathan Charette and Russell Holmes led the Cougars to a 3-1 win. Charette tallied 13 kills and seven blocks while hitting .364 and Holmes had 12 kills and seven blocks and hit .526.
The next night, BYU dropped games one and two but won game three, 30-20, behind the play of Taylor Evans and Yosleyder Cala. The Cougars continued to roll, winning game four 30-22 and then stealing the match from the Trojans with a 15-11 win in game five. BYU hit a combined .594 (45-7-64) in games three, four and five. Cala led BYU with a team season-high 26 kills on Saturday while hitting .622 (26-3-37).
A livestats feed will be available for both matches at www.ucsdtritons.com. Following the matches with the Tritons, the Cougars will have a week off and then play two matches against Stanford in the Smith Fieldhouse, March 3 and 4.
No. 1 BYU COUGARS (10-2, 8-2 MPSF) at UC SAN DIEGO (1-10, 0-7 MPSF)
Thursday and Saturday, Feb. 16 and 18, 2006 - 7 and 8 p.m. MST
RIMAC Arena (5,000) - San Diego, Calif.
Coaches: BYU, Tom Peterson (at BYU: 82-23 in fourth year, career: 334-153 overall)
UC San Diego, Kevin Ring (at UCSD: 1-10 in 1st year, career: same overall)
Series: BYU leads, 18-0, including last season's sweep by BYU in Provo, Utah
Livestats: Visit http://www.ucsdtritons.com/ and click on the 'UCSD Livestats'
link on the left hand side of the page
LAST MATCHES - BYU vs. USC
The Cougars improved to 10-2 overall and 8-2 in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation with two wins over USC Friday and Saturday, Feb 10 and 11. In the first match, BYU used a balanced attack and strong defense to earn a 3-1 (30-24, 28-30, 30-27, 30-25) win. Jonathan Charette had 13 kills and seven blocks, a career high, to lead the Cougars while Russell Holmes added 12 kills and seven blocks while hitting .526. In the second match, BYU lost game one 30-25 while hitting just .032. Yosleyder Cala entered the match late in the game and provided a lift but the Cougars lost again in game two, 30-26. From there BYU dominated as the offense got going. The Cougars hit .483 and won the third 30-20 and were even better in the fourth, hitting .583 on their way to a 30-22 win. BYU was nearly perfect in game five, hitting .909 (10-0-11) to win 15-11. Cala finished with a BYU season-high 26 kills, hit .622 and added three aces while Taylor Evans recorded 17 kills. Brian Rowley tied the BYU rally scoring record for most digs in a match on Saturday with 16. He had 30 for the weekend.
BYU earned a No. 1 ranking in the CSTV/AVCA Division I-II Men's Coaches Top 15 Poll for the first time in 2006. The Cougars reached the top spot after earning back-to-back home wins over USC. BYU received nine of the possible 16 first-place votes while Pepperdine received the other seven. The Cougars are also ranked No. 1 by Volleyball Magazine. BYU was No. 1 in the first three polls but dropped to No. 2 after losing to UCLA.
CALA DOMINATES TROJANS
Yosleyder Cala dominated USC Saturday, Feb. 11 when he recorded 26 kills and hit .622. It took the 6-8 freshman just 37 swings to reach the BYU season high as he recorded just three hitting errors. Cala used power and various tip shots to fool the USC blockers. He also added three aces, five digs and two blocks. Cala finished the match with 30.0 points.
CAN YOU DIG IT?
Brian Rowley had the best defensive weekend of his career when BYU defeated USC in back-to-back matches last Friday and Saturday. On Friday, he tied his career high with 14 digs in BYU's 3-1 win. On Saturday, he tied the BYU rally scoring record with 16 digs in the Cougars' come-from-behind 3-2 win. BYU lost games one and two on Saturday but dominated USC in games three, four and five to capture the win and improve to 9-1 at home. Rowley recorded 14 digs twice last season and his previous high this season was 11, which he accomplished against Cal Baptist and Cal State Northridge.
NATION'S BEST FANS
BYU fans continued to show their support for the men's volleyball team as several thousands showed up to cheer on the Cougars when they played USC. On Friday, Feb. 10, 3,263 attended the match while 2,718 came out on Saturday night, despite the fact that there was a men's basketball game that night starting an hour before the volleyball match. BYU sold out both of its matches against Pepperdine and over 4,300 fans attended each night against Cal State Northridge and over 3,500 attended each night against UC Santa Barbara. The Cougars are now averaging 3,823 fans per match, the best in the NCAA.