(Photo by BYU Photo)
No. 1 BYU (6-2, 5-1 MPSF)
No. 7 Long Beach State (7-3, 5-2 MPSF)
No. 9 Cal State Northridge (4-2, 2-2 MPSF)
Sitting as the No. 1 team in the country, the BYU men’s volleyball team returns to action after a bye weekend, hosting No. 7 Long Beach State and No. 9 Cal State Northridge at the Smith Fieldhouse Friday and Saturday, respectively, at 7 p.m. MST.
This marks the second week the Cougars have held the No. 1 ranking in the AVCA.
In its last outing, BYU defeated then-No. 1 UC Irvine 3-1 and then-No. 13 UC San Diego 3-0. Junior Taylor Sander was named the AVCA National Player of the Week for his performance in the matches. Sander leads the team with 85 kills and has recorded double-figure kills in all six matches.
Senior Russ Lavaja’s 1.64 blocks per set leads the team and the MPSF. BYU is out-blocking its opponents 69.0 - 42.5 and is No. 3 in the MPSF with 3.14 blocks per set.
The Cougars are first in the conference in opponent hitting percentage, holding their opponents to a .205 clip. BYU is ranked second in hitting percentage (.333). The Cougars are ranked in the top five in five of the seven statistical categories.
Long Beach State
Long Beach State is coming off a 3-1 win at Cal Baptist Tuesday Jan. 29.
The 49ers’ highest team ranking in the MPSF is in digs with the fourth-best mark (8.97). On the conference individual leader board, Taylor Crabb is eighth in points per set (4.44) and kills per set (3.86).
BYU leads the overall series against Long Beach State 24-19. The two teams split the 2012 series, with the Cougars grabbing a 3-0 win before the 49ers came away with a 3-2 victory on the road. BYU’s last home loss was in 2005.
Cal State Northridge
Coming off a 3-0 win over UC San Diego, Cal State Northridge takes on Cal Baptist Wednesday Jan. 30 before traveling to the Smith Fieldhouse.
Drew Staker and Jared Moore hold the top two spots in hitting percentage in the MPSF, hitting .531 and .525, respectively. Travis Magorien is No. 2 in service aces in the conference with a 0.52 average, propelling the Matadors to the No. 2 team spot with 1.43 aces per set. Cal State Northridge is third in opponent hitting percentage (.231).
The Cougars own a 29-22 overall record against the Matadors and are 16-9 at home. BYU topped Cal State Northridge 3-1 in 2012. The Matadors last secured a victory in Provo in 2010.
Friday’s match against Long Beach State will be broadcast live on BYUtv. Saturday’s match will be available through live stats only. Live stats are available on the BYU men’s volleyball schedule page.
Fans can also follow the team on Twitter @BYUvolleyball for live updates.