Brigham Young University
May 03 | 04:30 PM
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Lewis University
Anonymous | Posted: 3 May 2003 | Updated: 8 Nov 2020

Emotional Loss in NCAA Championship


LONG BEACH -- The Cougars made a valiant effort, but the Lewis Flyers came out with more determination and edged the No. 1 seed and top-ranked team in the country 44-42, 27-30, 21-30, 30-23, 12-15 to win their first-ever NCAA National Championship. The win is the first-ever national championship in Lewis history and the first time a team from the Midwest Intercollegiate Volleyball Association has won the championship.

"I have a lot of respect for (BYU) and their tenacity," said Lewis head coach Dave Deuser. "Determination is the only word I can use to describe my team throughout the tournament. They are a hard working, dedicated group of guys and they got what they wanted."

The teams battled it out for nearly three hours, with a first game going to 44 points and the teams taking it to the final two points of game five.

"It was an emotional Final Four and an emotional last match," BYU head coach Tom Peterson said. "In the fifth game it's hard to know how things will end up or what will happen. We were up and down and the momentum kept shifting. They ended up on top at the end, but it could have gone the other way. They had us down more than we had them down. Lewis has a good team; they played very well."

Gustavo Meyer, named MVP for the tournament, led the Flyers with a match-high 21 kills and added two aces, five digs and four blocks. The Flyers hit .260 on the match with 67 kills, 61 assists, five aces, 43 digs and 16.0 blocks. Fabiano Barreto added 18 kills, six digs and five blocks, and Kevin Miller chipped in 11 kills on the match. Libero Ryan Stuntz did an excellent job with 15 digs on the match.

BYU hit .211 with 73 kills, 71 assists, 10 aces, 42 digs and 14.5 blocks. Leading the Cougars was senior Rafael Paal with 20 kills, a BYU-record five aces and ten digs. Paal and Jonathan Alleman, who chipped in 18 kills, seven digs and five blocks for the Cougars, were both named to the All-Tournament team, as were Barreto and Stuntz for Lewis. Penn State's Carlos Guerra rounded off the All-Tournament team.

Chris Gorny and Alleman started the Cougars off with the first point in game one on a block, but Barreto came back with a kill on the next play to even the score. From there on it was a fight for every point, all the way into the forty-point range. Each team had several chances for game point, but then the other team would come back with a point or commit an error to tie or bring it within one.

Paal led BYU with eight kills in the first game and Meyer led Lewis with nine, but neither team hit over .300 in the first game. Finally, with the score tied at 42, Gorny knocked down a kill for the BYU lead and Michael Burke and Jaime Mayol combined for a huge block to win the game 44-42, the highest Tournament score in NCAA history.

Both teams looked a little better in game two, each hitting over .400 and toning down on the errors. From a tie at ten, Lewis went on a 12-2 run to take a ten-point lead. The Cougars followed with a good comeback effort with a 10-2 run led by Paal and Gorny, but the Flyers still held them off. At 22-24 the Flyers took off again with a 3-0 run and never let go of the lead. More errors kept the Cougars behind, and the Flyers won it on a Casey Patterson service error, 27-30.

With the match even at one, the Flyers had the momentum in their favor as they held the Cougars to a .000 attack percent and recorded just five attack errors to the Cougars' 12 in game three. BYU was able to bring the score to a tie at 12, but after that Lewis took over. Carlos Moreno was not setting well and got replaced by Casey Patterson when the Cougars were behind 19-27. Patterson's arrival made a small difference, but not enough as the Flyers scored only one more point on their own, a kill from Kevin Miller, but BYU committed two more errors to give Lewis the third game 21-30 for the lead in the match.

Moreno came back in for game four with some more momentum, but the star of the fourth game was Rafael Paal, who hit four service aces to give the team a spark. With the Cougars down 4-5, Paal came in and drove the ball to the other side for back-to back aces and the tie to get BYU back in the game. Paal served into the net on the the next point and Lewis took a 7-1 run for a comfortable lead, but Slabe came in and knocked down a kill for the Cougars to start them on a 6-2 run.

The teams battled out to a tie at 16, but BYU garnered six straight points, including two more aces from Paal, for a 22-16 lead. From there the teams battled back and forth, but BYU scored four points in a row from a 26-23 lead to win the fourth game on a Moreno ace, 30-23.

Going into the final game, Slabe was blocked to give the first point to Lewis. Jose Martins gave the next point to BYU on a service error, followed by a crowd-pleasing solo block from Moreno to give BYU the lead. It didn't last long, however, as Lewis scored four-straight points, followed by a hard kill from Paal then three more Lewis points. Down 3-8, the Cougars made a valiant effort to come back and brought it within one at 12-13 on a Slabe kill. Lewis was determined, however, and didn't give up.

Unfortunately for the Cougars, they lost it for themselves with two attack errors to give Lewis the game 15-13, the match 3-1 and the 2003 NCAA National Championship.

"There were little things that we missed too many times to lose this match," Slabe said. "The errors killed us. There was no free pass, or we would go and not have a perfect pass in crucial moment, in the net, foot call on a serve, etc. With little things it matters a lot."

The Cougars finish the season 23-7 and second-place in the NCAA Tournament. Lewis finishes with a final record of 29-5 as the 2003 NCAA National Collegiate Men's Volleyball Champions.

"I just thanked our guys in the locker room for making this year a great experience. My first year at BYU was a great experience, a great year," Peterson said. "Although it's disappointing to lose, and it will hurt for awhile after seeing such good players lose, the players made it great for me to be here."


Volleyball Box Score

Lewis University vs Brigham Young (May 03, 2003 at Long Beach State)




7 Soler, Jeff......... 5| 8 1 14 .500| 0| 1 3| 3| 5| 1 0 0| 0

10 Barreto, Fabiano.... 5| 18 14 47 .085| 1| 0 2| 0| 6| 2 3 2| 0

11 Meyer, Gustavo...... 5| 21 9 39 .308| 1| 2 4| 3| 5| 1 3 0| 1

12 Miller, Kevin....... 5| 11 4 22 .318| 0| 0 4| 0| 0| 2 3 0| 0

17 Elsea, James........ 5| 7 1 17 .353| 0| 2 5| 0| 3| 1 6 1| 0

18 Martins, Jose....... 5| 1 0 6 .167| 55| 0 2| 0| 9| 0 3 0| 0

3 Castellano, Jose.... 3| 0 0 0 .000| 0| 0 1| 0| 0| 0 0 0| 0

9 Stuntz, Ryan........ 5| 1 0 1 1.000| 4| 0 0| 4| 15| 0 0 0| 0


Totals.............. 5| 67 29 146 .260| 61| 5 21| 10| 43| 7 18 3| 1


Game K E TA Pct

1 20 8 42 .286 GAME SCORES 1 2 3 4 5 TEAM RECORDS

2 20 5 37 .405 Lewis University.... 42 30 30 23 15 29-5

3 12 4 27 .296 Brigham Young....... 44 27 21 30 12 23-7

4 8 8 25 .000

5 7 4 15 .200




3 Burke, Michael...... 5| 11 4 20 .350| 0| 0 0| 0| 1| 1 8 0| 0

5 Moreno, Carlos...... 5| 0 4 7 -.571| 66| 3 7| 0| 1| 1 3 0| 2

6 Gorny, Chris........ 5| 7 3 17 .235| 0| 1 3| 0| 3| 0 4 0| 0

7 Mayol, Jaime........ 4| 5 6 21 -.048| 0| 0 2| 0| 2| 0 2 0| 1

9 Paal, Rafael........ 5| 20 11 40 .225| 0| 5 5| 3| 10| 0 3 0| 0

12 Alleman, Jonathan... 5| 18 7 34 .324| 1| 1 3| 0| 7| 0 5 1| 0

1 Patterson, Casey.... 4| 0 0 0 .000| 2| 0 1| 0| 0| 0 0 0| 0

17 Pessoa, Fernando.... 5| 0 0 0 .000| 1| 0 0| 1| 12| 0 0 0| 0

18 Slabe, Luka......... 5| 12 4 22 .364| 1| 0 2| 1| 6| 0 0 0| 0


Totals.............. 5| 73 39 161 .211| 71| 10 23| 5| 42| 2 25 1| 3


Game K E TA Pct

1 26 12 52 .269 Site: Long Beach State (The Pyramid)

2 14 2 29 .414 Date: May 03, 2003 Attend: 4317 Time: 2:44

3 12 12 33 .000 Referees: Marvin Hall, Alan Stankaitis

4 14 9 30 .167 Triple Blocks: BYU 1



Anonymous | Posted: 29 Apr 2003 | Updated: 8 Nov 2020

NCAA Championship Notes



After trailing Pepperdine, 0-2, in Saturday's MPSF Championship match, the third-ranked BYU men's volleyball team rallied to win three straight games and knock off the No. 1 Waves to capture the league's automatic bid to the NCAA National Championships in Long Beach, Calif. By virtue of winning the MPSF Tournament, the Cougars (22-6) will enter this week's competition as the No. 1 seed, and will face No. 4 Penn State (26-5) on Thursday, May 1. Match time is slated for 8:00 p.m. (PDT) at the Pyramid--the site of BYU's last National Championship run in 2001.The winner of Thursday's match will play for the National Championship on Saturday, May 3, beginning at 4 p.m. (PDT).


The Cougars will enter this week's NCAA National Championship tournament as the top-seeded team for the second time in their three appearances. In 1999, BYU posted a 28-1 record entering the tournament to garner top-seed honors. In 2001, the Cougars suffered a semi-final loss in the MPSF Tournament, and was selected as the at-large team for the Final Four.


Fans wishing to follow the Cougars to the Final Four may purchase tickets by contacting the Long Beach State ticket office at 562-985-4949. The LBSU ticket office is open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. (PDT). All-session tickets are $25 for adults, $20 for youth (17 and under) and students. Single-session tickets (if available) will go on sale beginning at 10 a.m. (PDT) on Thursday, May 1 for $15 and $12.


Thursday's match will be broadcast (tape delayed) on ESPN 2, beginning at 8 a.m. (PDT) on Friday, May 2. The championship match will be broadcast live on ESPN2.


The Cougars have earned a 22-6 overall record on the season, including key victories over Hawai'i and Pepperdine in the MPSF Tournament. BYU's 17-5 MPSF record eared it the second spot in the final conference rankings behind Pepperdine. The Cougars' .346 percentage ranks sixth-bestin the nation and third in the MPSF. As a team, The Cougars finished among the top-five in the MPSF in aces and blocking. Two Cougars, Rafael Paal and Jonathan Alleman, have earned National Player-of-the-Week honors this season. Alleman is among the top-20 nationally, averaging 3.93 kills per game, while Paal has the highest service ace mark in the MPSF, averaging .41 per contest. Sophomore middle blocker Michael Burke is ranked third in the league for individual hitting percentage, average .458 per game, and adds a team-leading 1.34 blocks per contest. Middle blocker Chris Gorny and setter Carlos Moreno are among the national and conferece leaders in blocks and assists, respectively.


The Cougars enter this week's NCAA Championship tournament with a perfect, 4-0, record in Final Four action. BYU won the 1999 NCAA tournament, defeating Long Beach State, 3-0, at UCLA's Pauley Pavillion. The Cougars advanced to the championship match by knocking off Penn State, 3-1. In 2001, the Cougars returned to the Final Four, this time as an at-large selection. In semi-final action, BYU upended Penn State again, 3-1, to advance to the championship match. Once again, the Cougars were crowned National Champions after blanking top-ranked UCLA, 3-0, at the Pyramid in Long Beach.


May 6, 1999 BYU def. Penn State, 3-1 10-15, 15-4, 15-11, 15-5

May 8, 1999 BYU def. Long Beach State, 3-0 15-9, 15-7, 15-10

May 3, 2001 BYU def. Penn State, 3-1 30-28, 28-30, 30-28, 30-26

May 5, 2003 BYU def. UCLA, 3-0 30-26, 30-26, 32-30


• The Cougars beat Long Beach State (1999) to win the National

Championship on the home court of the UCLA Bruins. Two years later,

BYU beat UCLA on the home court of the Long Beach State 49'ers to win

the National Championship.

• The Cougars are a perfect 4-0 in Final Four action, posting a 12-2 single-

game record.

• Penn State is the only team to win a game against BYU in Final Four

action. The Cougars have defeated the Nittany Lions, 3-1, in both match-

ups in NCAA semi-final round action.

• Since 1999, the Cougars have made three appearances to the Final Four,

and have won more NCAA Championships in that span than any other



In 1999: BYU swept Hawaii and Pacific then beat USC, 3-1, for the MPSF tournament championship and automatic berth to the NCAA tournament. in their first-ever appearance at the Final Four, the Cougars played Penn State on May 6 in the first round of the national tournament and won, 3-1. The Cougars then met Long Beach State--the only team to defeat BYU during the regular season--in the finals for a 3-0 win and their first-ever national title.

In 2001: After losing to Hawaii in MPSF Tournament semi-final action, the Cougars' fate was up to the selection committee. A 21-4 record was good enough for the committee and an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament. BYU again faced Penn State in the first round of the Final Four and again beat the Nittany Lions, 3-1. The Championship featured BYU and top-ranked UCLA. The Cougars weren't deterred, however, and pulled off another, 3-0, victory to win their second national title in just three years.

In 2003: Entering the semi-finals of the MPSF tournament, the Cougars faced a difficult challenge. In order to hope for an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament, they would need to beat Hawaii--the second-ranked team in the nation. After a 3-0 thumping, mission accomplished. For the automatic bid, BYU would then need to beat No. 1 Pepperdine. After falling behind, 2-0, things didn't look so good for the Cougars. However, a stellar come-from-behind effort calmed the Waves and BYU went on to a 3-2 win and received the league's automatic bid to the NCAA Championship tournament. For the third time in five years, BYU will face Penn State in the first round of the tournament. BYU's first-year head coach Tom Peterson coached the Nittany Lions to their first and only National Championship in 1994. Interestingly, 1994 was Peterson's last year coaching NCAA men's volleyball before returning to BYU this season. Peterson now faces his ex-assistant in Mark Pavlik, now head coach at Penn State. If BYU wins this year, it will be akin to back-to-back championships for Peterson in men's NCAA competition, just nine years apart.


Five current BYU players were part of the 2001 NCAA National Championship team, including Fernando Pessoa, Jonathan Alleman, Luka Slabe, Jaime Mayol and Shawn Olmstead. Pessoa is the only starter from 2001 remaining on this year's team, while Slabe, Mayol and Alleman played key rolls of the bench.


Thursday‚s first-round match marks the third time BYU and Penn State have competed against each other in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. BYU won the previous two NCAA Tournament matches, 3-1, and went on to win the Championship. This season, the two teams split a pair of matches in Provo. On March 7, Michael Burke recorded a season-high nine blocks and three different Cougars registered double-digit kills to come back from a first-game loss and win the match, 3-1. On March 8, four Cougars tallied double-digit kills, and as a team out-blocked Penn State, 13.5 to 10.0, but five Nittany Lions hit in double figures, including Norman Keil who hit 15 kills with a .737 attack percent to outlast the Cougars for a 3-2 win in the second match. In their competitive history, Penn State leads the series 5-3.


Should Lewis and BYU advance past the first round of the NCAA Tournament, the two teams would meet for the sixth time. The Cougars own a 5-0 record in the series that dates back to 1997. All five games have been won in Provo.


In one of the Cougars' biggest rivalries, BYU and Pepperdine have battled 29 times since their first meeting in 1990. The Waves own a 12-17 record, however the Cougars have won 6 of the past 11 meetings. Pepperdine welcomed BYU to the collegiate ranks back in 1990 with a dominating, 3-0, victory. The Waves went on to win six straight matches over the Cougars. Finally, in 1993, BYU recorded its first win over Pepperdine, 3-2 in Provo. Interestingly, since the 1993 match, the Cougars have produced a 12-11 record over the Waves, including two come-from-behind victories this season.


After spending 11 weeks at No. 3 in the USAToday/AVCA Coaches Poll, the Cougars moved up to No. 1 in this week's poll after knocking off top-ranked Pepperdine, and second-ranked Hawaii in the semi-finals of the MPSF Tournament. The Cougars spent three weeks at No. 4 and one week at No. 5.

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