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Cougars Take USC to Five But Fall
LOS ANGELES, Calif. -- In one of the biggest match-ups of the season for men's volleyball, the second-ranked BYU Cougars took No. 1 USC to five sets but fell (21-25, 25-17, 17-25, 25-21, 15-12) on the road to give them a 13-5 overall season record.
Freshman Taylor Sander led all players with a career-high 29 kills, a .480 attacking percentage and three services aces for the second time this season.
Robb Stowell and Alex DaPron added to the Cougar attack with 16 and 14 kills, respectively.
Set one was taken by the Trojans in a close 25-21 score but BYU came back in the second set and stole a convincing eight-point victory on a back-to-back 3-0 runs early on.
USC's Murphy Troy led the attack in set three with five kills and an ace for the Trojan win but, again, the Cougars fought back and took set four to force just the third 5-set match of the season for USC. Troy finished the match with 22 kills and three aces.
With an early 3-0 lead in the final set for the Trojans, BYU had to once fight its way back in as they tied the score at 5-5 and 6-6 before USC again took the lead and finished out the match in a 15-12 score in the fifth.
BYU's Futi Tavana finished with a team-high five digs. This is just the second match all season the Cougars haven't had a player record more than five blocks against an opponent.
The Cougars have now only won one of their four matches they've played to five sets.
A rematch between the two teams will be played tomorrow, March 5, at 7 p.m. on the same court. Admission is free.
Road Games Against First-Ranked USC
This weekend, about midway through the 2011 season, the second-ranked BYU men's volleyball team will face its toughest test yet as they head to California to take on No. 1 USC on their home court this Friday and Saturday, March 4 and 5.
The last time BYU and USC met when the Trojans held a No. 1 ranking was back in 1991.
The Cougars head to USC with a 13-4 overall record and 9-3 holding in league play. Junior Robb Stowell leads the BYU attack on 233 kills and an overall .344 attacking percentage. Taylor Sander and Futi Tavana are also recording double-digit kills with 170 and 128, respectively, while Tavana is currently the only BYU player to have recorded over 100 blocks this season.
Setter Joe Kauliakamoa has recorded 535 assists this season as he paces the Cougar offense, averaging 9.91 per set.
The Trojans will host the Cougars with a 10-1 record led by Murphy Troy’s 158 kills and a .398 attacking percentage. Pepperdine gave USC its only loss of the season two weeks ago but the Trojans have bounced back from there and are currently on a four-match win streak. The team went 16-11 overall last season and returned six starters.
USC is averaging 14.5 kills/set compared to BYU’s 12.8 but the Cougars are averaging more blocks per set than the Trojans with 3.1 compared to 2.6.
Live stats are available for both matches through the BYU men's volleyball schedule page.