Michael Burke had five kills and seven blocks in the final regular-season home match of his career. (Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)
PROVO, Utah (April, 9, 2005) -- In the final home match of the regular season, the BYU Cougars notched their second straight sweep of the UC San Diego Tritons Saturday, 30-18, 30-25, 30-26, and honored the three seniors on the squad, Michael Burke, Rob Congelliere, and Casey Patterson.
BYU coach Tom Peterson praised his seniors after the match.
"Rob has more to do with our program than most people realize," Peterson said. "He is a great representative for the school and the team. He has been a very good influence on the rest of the players."
In the first start of his career, Congelliere recorded five kills, five digs and four blocks.
"Casey is a big part of our team. When he's good, we have a chance to win the championship."
Patterson had a team-high nine kills and added five digs and two assists.
"What can you say about Mike Burke," Peterson said. "He is one of the main reasons we have been so successful the three years I've been here. He is one of the most dominant players in the country."
Burke controlled the middle with five kills and a match-high seven blocks.
Victor Batista had nine kills, hit .667 (9-1-12), recorded two aces and three blocks to lead the Cougars. Rob Neilson had 37 assists and set BYU to a .352 (46-15-88) hitting percentage. The Cougars had 12.0 kills and 23 digs to control the Triton offense.
Garret Smith had eight kills for a UCSD team high and Adam Rusch added seven. The Tritons hit 0.60 (29-24-84) for the match.
After a close opening half of game one, BYU scored 15 of the last 21 points to win 30-18. UCSD led the first 17 points before the Cougars put together a four point run to take the lead for good. Patterson started the run with a kill and Neilson added a block, Batista a kill and Burke an ace to go ahead 11-9. The Tritons held strong, keeping within three at 15-12 before BYU closed the game with its 15-6 run, which included four blocks. Batista, Patterson and Congelliere each contributed three kills while the team finished with 6.5 blocks, led by four from Neilson. The Cougars hit .500 (14-3-22) compared to -.033 (9-10-30) for UCSD.
The second game followed the same pattern as the first, a slow start before a strong finish. The Tritons led 10-8 and 11-10 before the BYU jumped ahead on a 5-1 run that included two kills and an ace from Batista. The Cougars, leading at 15-12 at that point, would never let the Tritons come any closer, extending their lead to as many as seven at 26-19 and eventually winning, 30-25. Batista spearheaded the BYU attack, tallying five kills and two aces while Rusch had four on six attempts to lead UCSD.
After taking the lead at 7-6 on a Taylor Evans kill, the Cougars held the advantage the rest of the way. BYU looked as if it would blow the Tritons away, leading 29-21 before UCSD scored five consecutive points to make it interesting. The Cougars managed to close the game and the match behind a kill by Ivan Perez.
Peterson said he enjoyed the match because he was able to change the lineup and insert different players.
"It was great that we mixed things up," Peterson said. "I want to congratulate the guys for maintaining their intensity despite playing in different positions."
BYU, now 18-9 overall and 13-7 in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation will conclude its regular season with two matches next weekend (April 15 and 16) against the Stanford Cardinal.