PROVO -- In what could be their biggest matches of the season, the fourth-ranked BYU Cougars (8-2, 8-2 MPSF) will take on the top-ranked Hawaii Warriors (9-3, 5-3 MPSF) Feb. 20 and 21 in two Mountain Pacific Sports Federation contests in Provo.
"Hawaii is probably the most talented team we'll play. They are the defending national champions, and when they play well they are the team to beat," said BYU head coach Tom Peterson. "We have to beat that team to have a shot at the national championship this year."
Both teams are coming off of weekend splits with other MPSF opponents, BYU with UC Santa Barbara and Hawaii with Cal State Northridge. In the BYU-Hawaii series, BYU leads 14-11 overall and has a 9-2 advantage at home. Last year, the teams split two matches in Honolulu.
Besides the big competition, this week the Cougars are hoping to draw a big crowd. On Friday night the teams will play in the Marriott Center and attempt to re-break the NCAA single-match attendance record, which was set in 1999 in a match between the same two teams. Interestingly, when the teams played in 1999, it was the first-ever men's volleyball match to be held in the Marriott Center, and the NCAA attendance record, set at 14, 156 on Feb. 19, was taken from Hawaii. The Cougars beat the Warriors 3-1 that night, and went on to win their first National Championship that season.
"Fan support is huge," Peterson said. "We need people to come out and support us and give us that home court advantage."
Thursday's match begins at 7 p.m. in the Smith Fieldhouse. Tickets will be available at the door starting an hour and a half prior to game time, or through the Marriott Center Ticket Office, 801-378-BYU1.
Friday's match in the Marriott Center also begins at 7 p.m. Tickets will be available at the door and the Marriott Center Ticket Office, or fans can pick up vouchers from Utah County Hogi Yogi and Ken Garff locations good for $1 general admission to the match. Friday's match will also be broadcast live on BYUTV, available on local cable networks and through select satellite systems.