PROVO, Utah -- The 1999 NCAA National Champion BYU men's volleyball team got back to its winning ways on Saturday, downing Loyola-Chicago, 3-1, in front of 5,735 fans at the Smith Fieldhouse. The win marked the Cougars' 13th straight and extended BYU's Smith Fieldhouse win streak to 30 matches, dating back to the 1998 season.
"It's really hard to know how we played tonight," BYU head coach Carl McGown said. "We hit over .400 and we didn't get aced. We dunked some balls and played really well for awhile."
BYU hit a combined .413 at the net, led by sophomore Mike Wall's 23 kills and a double-double performance from Scott Bunker. The 6-5 middle blocker racked up 15 kills and a match-high 10 blocks. Junior Matt Olsen added 16 kills for the Cougars, while setter Chris Pitzak tallied 103 assists. The eight-ranked Cougars tallied 27 blocks and held the Ramblers to just over 27-percent hitting on the night.
The Cougars got off to a quick start in game one, jumping out t to a 12-3 lead behind the hitting of Wall and senior Casey Jennings. The duo combined for 11 of the Cougars' 23 kills. Wall picked up one of his game-high six kills on a bullet down the left side to stop a two-point Loyola-Chicago rally at 13-5. Wall would also come up with the ace a few plays later to give BYU the 14-6 advantage. The game ended on a Rambler hitting error, giving the Cougars a 15-6 win.
In game two, junior Matt Olsen paced BYU to a 15-9 victory with a team-high seven kills. Jennings added a game-high three blocks as the Cougars held Loyola-Chicago to a .200 average at the net. The Ramblers' Justin Schnor chalked up a game-high 10 kills.
In game three, Loyola-Chicago took its first lead of the match at 6-5 after an Olsen hitting error. The two teams would battle through ties at 11-11 and 14-14 before Loyola-Chicago wrapped things up with a 16-14 win. Schnor paced the Ramblers with a game-high 11 kills, while teammate Ted Groves added seven more.
"When we got to game three, we lost focus," McGown said. "Something happened out there and we had some hitting errors."
Hitting .523 at the net, the Cougars ended the match with a 15-8 victory in game four. BYU was led by Wall who had 10 kills and Joaquin Acosta who added six of his team-high 25 kills on the night.
The Cougars will be back in action, hosting highly-touted Lewis University in the Smith Fieldhouse on Friday, Jan. 14 and against on Saturday, Jan. 15.