(Photo by Jaren Wilkey/BYU Photo)
After splitting a pair of home matches against No. 1 UCI, the No. 6 BYU men’s volleyball team (15-10, 11-7 MPSF) goes to No. 5 Stanford (19-8, 12-6 MPSF) for two matches on Friday and Saturday nights. The visit marks the first of two final road trips of the Cougars’ regular season.
The Cougars finished 1-1 against the top-ranked Anteaters last weekend, defeating them 3-1 on Thursday before UCI returned the favor on Friday. Thursday’s win clinched a spot for BYU in the MPSF playoffs, but the Cougars have more work to do before they can host the opening round in Provo.
Stanford won its eighth consecutive MPSF match after a 3-1 road win over No. 10 UC San Diego last weekend. The Cardinal has four home matches remaining in the regular season.
The Cougars lead the series against the Cardinal 21-11 and 11-8 in Stanford. BYU has won eight of the past 10 matches and swept Stanford in six of those. Two of those matches went to four games, but the Cardinal has not forced a fifth game since the 2003 season when BYU beat Stanford in back-to-back five-set matches.
The matches can be watched live online by visiting Stanford’s men’s volleyball schedule page at www.gostanford.com. The video can be launched by clicking on the “Watch” link for the appropriate game on the schedule page.
Coming Off...3-1 Loss to No. 1 UCI
Playing its final home match of the season, a season-high 3,878 fans were in attendance as the No. 6 BYU men’s volleyball team dropped a tough 3-1 match (30-28, 26-30, 30-27, 30-27) to No. 1 UC Irvine Friday night in the Smith Fieldhouse. With the loss the Cougars and Anteaters split the weekend series and BYU falls to 15-10, 11-7 MPSF on the season. The Cougars finished their 2009 home season with a 9-3 record, having lost only five matches in the past three years.
The crowd of 3,878 not only marked the largest to visit the Fieldhouse this season, but the largest since Feb. 3, 2007 when 5,603 came to watch then-top ranked BYU fall to then-No. 2 UCI in a battle similar to Friday night’s.
Sophomore transfer Alex Da Pron recorded a team-high 16 kills against the Anteaters, his former teammates. Junior opposite Kent Tuttle contributed 12 kills just one night after a head-on collision requiring staples.
UCI, who currently leads the country in blocking, out-blocked the Cougars 18.5 to 18. Redshirt freshman Futi Tanava led BYU with nine blocks on the night, while freshman Russell Lavaja added eight of his own.
The Cougars remain on the road for their final matches of the regular season, traveling to Pepperdine for two matches on April 16 & 17. BYU will then prepare for the first round of the MPSF tournament on April 22.
Last Year Against Stanford
February 22, 2008
The No. 1 BYU men’s volleyball team (12-0, 7-0) beat No. 9 Stanford (9-6, 5-6) in the Smith Fieldhouse for the 12th time in a row (30-22, 28-30, 30-18, 27-30, 15-12), led by senior All-American middle blocker Russell Holmes with 19 kills and senior setter Brian Congelliere setting the team to a .333 attack percentage.
Holmes hit an astounding .654 to record his highest kill total of the season. Also in double figures were sophomore outside hitter Andrew Stewart (15 kills), senior outside hitter Ivan Perez (13 kills), and senior middle blocker Trent Sorensen (12 kills). The win also marks the fourth time this season BYU has won in five sets.
February 23, 2008
The No. 9 Stanford Cardinal (10-6, 6-6) walked into the Smith Fieldhouse to hand the No. 1 BYU men’s volleyball team (12-1, 7-1) only their second home loss in the last two years and the Cougars’ first loss of the season as the Cardinal closed out the match in straight games 3-0.
Junior outside hitter Ivan Perez led the Cougars against the visiting Cardinal on the night as he recorded his fifth double-double of the season with 24 kills and 16 digs. BYU also had a strong performance by sophomore libero Joel Silva who had 14 digs on the evening.