PROVO -- After finishing the regular-season with a 20-3, 14-3 mark, the BYU men's volleyball team has earned the homecourt advantage throughout the 2001 MPSF Volleyball Tournament. First-round action against eighth-seeded UC Irvine (13-12, 8-9) will begin on Saturday, April 21, beginning at 7 p.m. in the Smith Fieldhouse. The winner of the MPSF Tournament will earn an automatic bid to the NCAA Final Four in Long Beach, Calif. on May 3-5.
BYU's 3-0 win over Hawai'i on Friday created a three-way log jam for the second, third and fourth seeds in the tournament. With its second straight loss to the Cougars and UCLA's win over Pacific on Saturday, Hawai'i (17-6, 12-5) dropped to the fourth seed, UCLA (20-7, 12-5) earned the No. 3 seed, while Long Beach State (17-6, 12-5), which concluded its season back on April 11 with a 3-0 win over Cal State Northridge, secured the No. 2 seed, based upon the league's tie-breaking format. The 49'ers will host seventh-seeded Pepperdine (14-8, 9-8), while the Bruins will host No. 6 Stanford (14-8, 10-7) and No. 5 USC (13-8, 10-7) will travel to Hawai'i. All first-round matches will take place on Saturday, April 21.
The winners of the four first-round matches will travel to Provo for the semifinals and final rounds, provided BYU is able to advance. Should the Cougars be defeated by UC Irvine, the next highest-remaining seed would then host the final two rounds. BYU defeated then 12th-ranked UC Irvine during the regular-season, 3-0 in Provo.
Reserved tickets for Saturday's match will go on sale this week at the BYU ticket office. Fans can purchase tickets at the Marriott Center ticket office or by calling (801) 378-BYU1. General admission tickets will be available at the door.
The Cougars finished the regular season with the best overall (.870) and league (.824) winning percentage in the MPSF. Earlier in the season, BYU spent a season-high five weeks as the top-ranked team in the country. Since dropping to No. 2, the Cougars have posted a 4-0 record, including back-to-back 3-0 wins over fifth-ranked Stanford and a pair of wins over No. 1 Hawai'i. With 3-0 and 3-2 wins over the Warriors this weekend, it is likely the Cougars will return to the top-spot in this week's polls.
During the season, BYU played in four No. 1 vs. No. 2 matchups. The Cougars won all four contests, including a 3-1 win over No. 1 UCLA, a 3-2 win over second-ranked Pepperdine (when BYU was ranked No. 1), as well as back-to-back wins over No. 1 Hawai'i. All totaled, the Cougars recorded a 14-3 record against nationally-ranked opponents, including a mark of 10-2 against teams ranked in the top 10.
Throughout the season, BYU recorded 14 three-game wins, including five straight shutouts from Jan. 31 - Feb. 17. The five-match streak tied a school record for consecutive 3-0 defeats. The 14 three-game wins marks the most in a single season since recording 20 during the Cougars' championship run in 1999. Of the 14 victories, BYU recorded shutouts over eight nationally-ranked opponents, including four teams in the top 10. The Cougars own the most three-game victories of any other team in the league, followed by Hawai'i and UCLA with nine each. BYU is the only team in the MPSF which has successfully avoided a three-game defeat this season.
A strong candidate for National Coach of the Year, head coach Carl McGown has successfully engineered his second 20-win campaign in the past three seasons, including a 30-1 mark in 1999. With a 179-123 (.593) career record, McGown has produced a 68-13 (.840) mark since the 1999 campaign, ranking as one of the highest winning percentages over the past three seasons of any active coach.
April 21, 26-28, 2001
First Round - April 21
No. 8 UC Irvine (13-12) at No. 1 Brigham Young (20-3)
No. 5 USC (13-8) at No. 4 Hawai'i (17-6)
No. 6 Stanford (14-8) at No. 3 UCLA (20-7)
No. 7 Pepperdine (14-8) at No. 2 Long Beach State (17-6)
Semifinals - April 26
Finals - April 28
(Winner receives automatic bid to the NCAA Final Four in Long Beach, Calif.)