PROVO -- After dropping the first game of Saturday's MPSF contest, 9-15, the seventh-ranked BYU men's volleyball team rebounded to hand Cal State Northridge three straight losses and claim its 34th consecutive win in the Smith Fieldhouse. The Cougars improve to 7-1, 4-1, on the season, while the Matadors fall to 1-3, 0-3.
Sophomore Joaquin Acosta led the Cougars with 29 kills on 45 swings, marking his eighth straight match with double-digits. Juniors Matt Olsen and Scott Bunker each picked up 20 kills as BYU hit a stellar 43.7 percent at the net, committing just 27 errors on 190 attempts.
The BYU defense also outperformed the Matadors on the night, recording 39 blocks to CSUN's 15. Bunker led the way with 11 blocks, while Acosta added eight and Olsen tallied seven blocks for the Cougars. Libero Brad Goldston chalked up a match-high 17 digs, while Casey Jennings and Pitzak added nine each.
"We just got better and better as the match went on," BYU head coach Carl McGown said. "I thought Cal State Northridge played hard and played well. They have five guys returning from last year and are capable of playing a nice match. After losing the first game, we responded and just kept playing better and better. This was a really good match for us. It was a positive step forward."
The Matadors claimed game one, 15-9, marking the first single-game victory in the series since April 3, 1997. Since dropping game two in the 1997 contest, the Cougars posted 17 straight single-game victories. After BYU jumped out to a 3-0 lead, the Matadors battled back to take an 11-9 advantage. Northridge would capitalized on two BYU hitting errors to capture game one.
In game two, CSUN took a 3-0 lead, but the Cougars rallied back and tied things up at 7-7 on a Jennings' kill. After the Matadors pulled within two, 13-11, Acosta forced game-point with one of his eight kills in the game and then teamed with Bunker to snuff a Matador attempt, giving BYU the 15-11 win.
Game three saw the Matadors take a 3-1 lead, but the Cougars took over, scoring seven unanswered points to take an 8-3 lead. Jennings' slop shot that fell behind the CSUN defense gave BYU a 10-4 lead and the momentum to force game point on a Pitzak ace. After trading sideouts, Bunker came up with a monster, back-row kill to notch the 15-6 Cougar victory.
In the final game of the match, it was all BYU. The Cougars rolled to a 12-0 lead before the Matadors could get on the board. A BYU hitting error cut the margin to 12-2, but from then on, Pitzak stuffed a Northridge attempt and teamed with Olsen for a second straight block to force match point. Olsen finished things off with his seventh block of the game to give BYU the 15-2 win.
BYU will travel to second-ranked Long Beach State on Wednesday, Feb. 2, and then third-ranked Pepperdine in a pair of matches on Thursday and Friday, Feb. 3 - Feb. 4.
Short Box Score (Final)
Cal State Northridge vs Brigham Young (Jan 29, 2000 at BYU PROVO, UT)
Brigham Young def. Cal State Northridge 9-15,15-11,15-6,15-2
Cal State Northridge (1-3 0-3) (Kills-aces-blocks) - WALTER, Eckhard
22-0-2; BLACK, Adam 19-0-3; MOSONES, Junior 18-1-3; TOON, Jeff 18-1-4;
JANDREAU, JP 16-0-0; BAXTER, John 1-0-2; TRAMBLIE, Ty 0-0-1; Totals
94-2-8.5. (Assists) - BAXTER, John 88. (Dig leaders) - LUFRANO, Pat
10; BAXTER, John 8
Brigham Young (7-1 4-1) (Kills-aces-blocks) - ACOSTA, Joaquin 29-0-8;
BUNKER, Scott 20-0-11; OLSEN, Matt 20-0-7; JENNINGS, Casey 18-0-2;
MAYOL, Jaime 12-1-2; WALL, Mike 8-0-5; PITZAK, Chris 3-1-4; Totals
110-2-20.0. (Assists) - PITZAK, Chris 98. (Dig leaders) - GOLDSTON,
Brad 17; JENNINGS, Casey 9; PITZAK, Chris 9
Site: BYU PROVO, UT (SMITH FIELDHOUSE)
Date: Jan 29, 2000 Attend: 2765 Time: 2H 30M
Referees: TOM GIVENS, LES CALLES