PROVO -- The No. 5 BYU men's volleyball team rebounded from back-to-back losses with a 30-25, 30-28, 30-26 sweep over Concordia College. With the win the Cougars improve to 12-5, while the Clippers drop to 7-9.
"I was impressed with Concordia's ability to be a really effective hitting team," said head coach Carl McGown. "They played very well tonight, but I was also impressed with our ability to play well too. We hit for a high percentage."
BYU tied a season-high in hitting .494 (56 kills with 12 errors on 89 attempts), as it used a balanced attack to overwhelm Concordia.
In game one, neither team led by more than three points, as BYU and Concordia rallied to 16-16. The Cougars then reeled off a 4-0 run keyed with kills by Joaquin Acosta and Jaime Mayol, and a service ace by Rafael Paal. BYU stretched its lead to 27-20, before Acosta and Mike Wall ended the game with consecutive kills.
Game two was a back-and-forth affair, as the Clippers and Cougars combined for 47 sideouts. With the game tied 25-25, Acosta, with consecutive kills put BYU up for good. Mayol sealed the game with consecutive kills of his own.
With the Cougars holding a 2-0 lead, McGown inserted reserves Luka Slabe, John Alleman and Tim Layton. Kills by Layton and Slabe propelled BYU to a quick 5-1 lead, and the Cougars kept the lead through the entire game. Slabe was nearly unstoppable as he complied seven kills with no attack errors (.778). Alleman was also without an attack error as he put down four kills (.571).
On the night BYU was led by two players who compiled double-digit kills. Acosta led the Cougars with 14 kills and one attack error, and a BYU rally scoring record .765 hitting percentage. Mayol had 10 kills with one error on 13 swings (.692).
Concordia was led by two players with double-digit kills. Diego Escobar had 13 kills (.458) and Ashraf Tama had 10 kills (.467)
Despite winning handily, McGown sees additional room for improvement.
"I think it's still a problem that we missed 17 serves in a three-game match," McGown said. "The thing that is getting most worrisome is missing back-to-back serves, and serves coming out of timeouts. It's something we need to really work on."
BYU will next play Saturday afternoon, as it will host No. 9 Lewis University (Illinois) in the Smith Fieldhouse. Game time has been changed to 1 p.m., to accommodate a gymnastics meet at 7 p.m.
PROVO -- After falling in back-to-back matches against No. 4 Pepperdine last weekend, BYU head coach Carl McGown decided it was time to give his team a break. After taking three days off, the Cougars were back in the gym on Wednesday, making preparations for a pair of non-conference matches this weekend.
"We've been working hard for a long time," McGown said on Saturday. "After spending the month of February on the road, we're a little tired and could use a couple days off."
The results of the three-day break won't be known until the Cougars hit the court against Concordia (Friday) and Lewis (Saturday), but preliminary indications suggest the coach-imposed break is paying off.
"It's been awesome," middle blocker Chris Gorny said of the break. "I was starting to not like playing volleyball very much. Now, I'm ready to get back out there and play. It's fun again. It has given us some time to heal up and get back to full speed."
"This has been the best thing," outside hitter Luka Slabe said. "We were all pretty tired and just needed a little break. I think Pepperdine is a really good team, but we just didn't have enough to beat them. I think the time off has really helped us. We'll be ready to go this weekend."
The Cougars (11-5, 9-5) will take on Concordia (New York) on Friday in the Smith Fieldhouse, beginning at 7 p.m. (MST). On Saturday, BYU will play host to No. 9 Lewis (12-5). Due to a scheduling conflict, Saturday's match will begin at 1 p.m. (MST).