Regular Season Ends on a High Note

Michael Burke helped the Cougars clinch thrid place in the MPSF with a win over Stanford on Saturday. The Cougars will host a first-round match next Saturday, April 23. (Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)

PALO ALTO -- The No. 6 Cougars clinched third place in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation and home-court advantage in the first round of the league postseason tournament with a 3-1, 30-27, 34-32, 28-30, 30-20, win over the No. 9 Stanford Cardinal Saturday night at Burnham Pavilion. BYU concludes the regular season on a four-match winning streak and with a 20-9 overall record and 15-7 in the MPSF while Stanford finishes at 11-14 and 10-12.

"It's very satisfying to finish the season the way we have," BYU coach Tom Peterson. "It's a nice feeling to be able to come home and host the first round of the tournament. I'm very proud of our guys. The whole season we've been getting better and better. They've worked very hard to get to this point."

The 2005 season marks the fifth consecutive the Cougars have finished with 20 wins. BYU has now finished at least fourth in the MPSF regular season for nine-straight seasons.

After winning the first two and falling short on a comeback bid in the third, the Cougars won the fourth game 30-20 to clinch the victory and the third-place finish. BYU fell behind early but came back and took a four-point lead at 13-9 on a 4-0 run. The Cougars continued to build their lead and won going away.

Victor Batista led BYU with a match-high 21 kills, while adding seven digs and two aces. Ivan Perez was not far behind, registering 19 kills, eight digs and two aces. Michael Burke was a force in the middle, tallying eight kills and nine blocks. Rob Neilson had 56 assists while setting the Cougars to a .298 (64-25-131) hitting percentage. BYU out- blocked the Cardinal 14.5 to 7.0 and had more aces, eight to seven.

"Our serving made a big difference tonight," Peterson said. "It was maybe the difference in a close match. They're (Stanford) a very good and smart defensive team, maybe the best in the league. That and the play of their setter kept it close tonight."

The Cardinal were led by Craig Buell's 20 kills and .630 (20-3-27) hitting percentage. Kevin Hansen registered 48 assists while directing the offense.

Game one seemed to be a continuation of the previous night's match when the lead changed hands several times. BYU jumped out to an early 4-1 lead as Batista registered an ace and a kill. Stanford would not let the game get out of its hands, however, running off six straight to take the lead at 7-4. The Cougars would come back and take the lead, which they would hold much the rest of the game. Leading 27-24, BYU faltered and allowed the Cardinal to run off three consecutive points to tie the score. Burke made sure the Cougars would hold on though, serving and ace and getting a kill before Batista finished it off at 30-27 will a kill of his own. BYU pulled out the win despite hitting just .088 (12-9-34).

The second game was another back-and-forth contest as both teams held three-point leads, the Cougars at 18-15 and Stanford at 29-26. The Cardinal squandered three game-point opportunities by registering two attack errors and allowing Batista to get a kill. Stanford did have three more chances to clinch the game at 30-29, 31-30 and 32-31 but the BYU was equal to the task on every point and then scored the final two on Cardinal errors to win 34-32. The Cougars were much improved hitting the ball, registering a .324

(19-7-37) percentage while limiting Stanford to a .095 (16-12-42) clip.

In the third game, BYU did not play like a team that had just won the first two, falling behind early and trailing by nine as late as 20-11. The Cougars refused to get blown out, cutting the lead to one at 27-26 before allowing Stanford to jump back ahead by three at 29-26. BYU made a run to get back within a point at 29-28 but could not complete the comeback, losing 30-28 on a Clayton kill. Before the game winner, the Cardinal had failed to convert on five-straight game points. The Cougars hit .289 (19-8-38) on the game.

BYU will return home and host either UCSB or Long Beach State, depending on the outcome of Long Beach's Saturday night match with Pacific. Should the 49ers win, UCSB would go to Provo. A Long Beach loss would send the 49ers to Provo.

"This is a huge deal for us," Peterson said. "We need to get to the finals minimum to even have a shot at the NCAA Final Four. It all starts in the Fieldhouse. Our fans are the best in the nation and their support will be a big boost on Saturday."

The match will be played Saturday, April 23 in the Smith Fieldhouse. The time is still to be determined.

Volleyball Box Score

Brigham Young University - Volleyball

#6 Brigham Young vs #9 Stanford (Apr 16, 2005 at Stanford, CA)

Brigham Young | ATTACK |SET| SERVE |SRV|DEF| BLOCK |GEN

## Name GP| K E TA PCT| A| SA SE| RE|DIG|BS BA BE|BHE|POINTS

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

3 BURKE, Michael...... 4| 8 2 13 .462| 0| 1 1| 0| 4| 1 8 2| 0| 14.0

8 PEREZ, Ivan......... 4| 19 6 34 .382| 1| 2 3| 1| 8| 0 3 0| 0| 22.5

9 PATTERSON, Casey.... 4| 6 6 18 .000| 2| 3 4| 2| 5| 1 2 0| 0| 11.0

11 HOLMES, Russell..... 4| 6 3 15 .200| 1| 0 0| 0| 1| 0 3 2| 0| 7.5

14 NEILSON, Rob........ 4| 1 1 3 .000| 56| 0 3| 0| 2| 1 5 0| 3| 4.5

15 BATISTA, Victor..... 4| 21 6 40 .375| 0| 2 2| 1| 7| 0 1 2| 0| 23.5

2 STEWART, Bryan...... 1| 0 0 1 .000| 0| 0 0| 0| 0| 0 0 1| 0| 0.0

6 HEYES, Matt......... 1| 0 0 0 .000| 0| 0 0| 0| 0| 0 0 0| 0| 0.0

7 ROWLEY, Brian....... 4| 0 0 0 .000| 0| 0 0| 1| 7| 0 0 0| 0| 0.0

17 EVANS, Taylor....... 4| 3 1 7 .286| 1| 0 3| 2| 4| 0 1 1| 0| 3.5

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Totals.............. 4| 64 25 131 .298| 61| 8 16| 7| 38| 3 23 8| 3| 86.5

TEAM ATTACK PER GAME TOTAL TEAM BLOCKS: 14.5

Game K E TA Pct

1 12 9 34 .088 GAME SCORES 1 2 3 4 TEAM RECORDS

2 19 7 37 .324 Brigham Young....... (3) 30 34 28 30 20-9 (15-7)

3 19 8 38 .289 Stanford............ (1) 27 32 30 20 11-14 (10-12)

4 14 1 22 .591

Stanford | ATTACK |SET| SERVE |SRV|DEF| BLOCK |GEN

## Name GP| K E TA PCT| A| SA SE| RE|DIG|BS BA BE|BHE|POINTS

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

1 Buell, Craig........ 4| 20 3 27 .630| 1| 0 0| 0| 2| 2 1 0| 0| 22.5

2 Ahlfeldt, Chris..... 4| 6 5 18 .056| 0| 0 0| 0| 0| 0 2 0| 0| 7.0

5 Vogel, David........ 4| 7 7 23 .000| 1| 2 1| 2| 10| 0 3 0| 0| 10.5

8 Clayton, William.... 4| 8 8 25 .000| 0| 0 3| 5| 6| 1 0 0| 0| 9.0

15 Reddy, Ben.......... 4| 12 10 35 .057| 0| 2 4| 0| 5| 0 0 1| 0| 14.0

17 Hansen, Kevin....... 4| 2 1 6 .167| 48| 2 0| 0| 6| 0 0 0| 2| 4.0

3 Manov, Nick......... 4| 0 1 1-1.000| 0| 1 1| 1| 0| 1 0 0| 0| 2.0

11 Lindberg, Brian..... 4| 1 0 1 1.000| 0| 0 0| 0| 6| 0 0 0| 0| 1.0

18 Meredith, Jesse..... 1| 0 0 0 .000| 0| 0 0| 0| 0| 0 0 0| 0| 0.0

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Totals.............. 4| 56 35 136 .154| 50| 7 9| 8| 35| 4 6 1| 2| 70.0

TEAM ATTACK PER GAME TOTAL TEAM BLOCKS: 7.0

Game K E TA Pct

1 11 8 28 .107 Site: Stanford, CA (Maples Pavilion)

2 16 12 42 .095 Date: Apr 16, 2005 Attend: 912 Time: 2:15

3 19 7 38 .316 Referees: John Kinyon, Eric Asami, Gary Wakai

4 10 8 28 .071

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Tags: Results