PROVO -- The BYU men's volleyball team will welcome eleven new faces to the Cougar squad, bringing talent and height for this upcoming season.
"We have a great recruiting class," BYU head coach Tom Peterson. "This class should give us as many good players as any other team. Some teams will have six or seven great players, but we will have more than 15 guys."
Among the new recruits is Ivan Perez, a 6-3 outside hitter from Puerto Rico, who will be a great addition to the team. Since BYU lost three seniors from last year who were outside hitters, the team hopes to fill the position with the list of outstanding players. Perez has been playing on his youth national team in Indonesia this summer.
Dallas Soonias, a 6-7 opposite-side hitter from Canada, is another strong recruit joining the Cougars this year. He is just returning from playing for his youth national team in Germany and Iran.
"We're usually not known for having taller guys, so these new players will bring a lot of height and depth to the team," Peterson said.
Andrew Stewart and Mat Taylor are two local Utah recruits that recently returned from playing in Russia for the Moscow-Utah Youth Summer Games. BYU assistant coach Grayson Dubose coached Stewart, a 6-4 opposite-side hitter from Sandy, and Taylor, a 6-5 outside hitter from Orem, during the exchange games in Moscow.
The games were created last October through a partnership between Governor Mike Leavitt and Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov. The summer games were held in Moscow July 19-26, while the winter games will be held next February in Salt Lake City.
Two more local recruits adding to BYU's talented squad will be Tyler Jones and Kenny Ainge. Jones, a 6-7 middle blocker from Provo and Ainge, a 6-3 setter from Sandy, will add depth to the team.
Joe Klein, a native from Eden, New York, is BYU's first recruit from back east. His 6-2 presence on the court and competitive drive will be a great addition in the setter position. Another setter with great potential joining the Cougars is 6-3 Reed Chilton from Ohio.
Russel Holmes, a 6-8 middle blocker from Fountain Valley, Calif., is returning off of a mission from England and bringing height to BYU as a top recruit. Another exciting outside hitter joining the squad is 6-5 Joshua Jergenson from Poway, Calif.
The final recruit joining the team is Kent Tuttle, a 6-5 setter/outside hitter from Northern Calif., who comes from a long line of Tuttles that have played in the BYU program.
With the addition of these new recruits and the return of several key players from last year's team who finished second in the NCAA Tournament, BYU will continue the tradition of excellence that has earned them two National Championships since 1999 and a dominating presence in the MPSF.
"I'm excited about getting the season going," Peterson said. "I think we have a lot of good athletes in the gym and that should be our strength this year."