PROVO -- The third-ranked BYU Cougars will take on tenth-ranked Cal State Northridge in two Mountain Pacific Sports Federation matches March 21 and 22 at the Matadome. CS Northridge is currently sixth in the MPSF with a 9-7 (14-8 overall) record and is one of three teams BYU (15-4, 13-3 MPSF) must beat to have a shot at the MPSF regular-season title.
"Northridge is a very good team," BYU head coach Tom Peterson said. "They can block really well, and their offense can really catch fire. They're good on both sides. But as long as we work hard and work through any errors, it will be a very competitive match."
This weekend marks the 26th meeting between the two teams, with BYU leading the series 14-11. The Cougars have won the last 11 matches with the Matadors.
The Cougars swept seventh-ranked UC Irvine in two matches last week, while the Matadors recorded wins against No. 15 UC Santa Barbara and non-conference opponent Quincy.
The Cougars will be traveling to Northridge without middle blocker Chris Gorny, who injured his hand in a match against Penn State earlier this month. Also questionable are outside hitter Luka Slabe, who has missed the past few matches because of a foot injury, and libero Shawn Olmstead, who injured his hand in practice Tuesday.
"We will need to step it up," Peterson said. "We'll see what the guys do this weekend. I just wish we were injury free."
Injuries or not, the pressure is on for BYU. The Cougars have four matches to play before facing conference leader and top-ranked Pepperdine in Malibu next month to end the regular season. Currently BYU is only 1.5 matches behind Pepperdine and will have the opportunity to snag the conference title if the upcoming matches go well.
Both matches with CS Northridge will be held at 7 p.m. in the Matadome. Live audio will be available through www.byucougars.com. The Cougars will return home next week to host Long Beach State in their last two home matches of the regular season on March 28 and 29.