Anonymous | Posted: 19 Mar 2002 | Updated: 28 Apr 2011

Cougars Welcome Return to Conference Play

PROVO -- Riding a four-match win streak, the No. 4 BYU men's volleyball team will host No. 9 Cal State Northridge this Friday and Saturday in its return to Mountain Pacific Sports Federation play. Both matches will be played in the Smith Fieldhouse and are scheduled for 7 p.m.

"We think we're getting better," said head coach Carl McGown. "But we're always anxious to find out if we're getting better in a competitive environment. It's always nice to play a top 10 team such as Cal-State Northridge to find out how good we are."

The Cougars (15-5, 9-5 MPSF) are coming off a two-match weekend sweep of Ball State, which they won with relative ease, 3-0 and 3-1. BYU's blocking and serving games came alive over the weekend, as the team combined for 26.5 blocks and nine service aces over the two matches.

Individually, sophomore middle blocker Chris Gorny is continuing to grow into his starting role. In the two matches against the Cardinals he accumulated 19 kills on 28 swings with only three hitting errors (.571), and defensively he led a staunch Cougar effort in compiling 15 blocks.

All-American and National Player of the Year candidate Mike Wall continues his season-long consistency in averaging a team-high 4.77 kills per game with a .327 attack percentage. He also stands third on the team in aces (.24), digs (1.27) and blocking (.91) per game.

CS Northridge (11-10, 7-9) is coming off a pair of weekend losses to No. 3 Hawai'i, and the Matadors host Rutgers-Newark today before traveling to play the Cougars. The Cougars have won nine consecutive matches against CS Northridge, and BYU holds a 12-11 all-time edge.

The Matadors are led by senior opposite side hitter Eckhard Walter who averages 5.11 kills per game with a .330 attack percentage. On March 13, Walter was honored as MPSF Player of the Week in leading CS Northridge to wins over Long Beach State and UC San Diego.

"It should be a fun and very competitive match," McGown said.

The Cougars are currently fourth in the MPSF standings, but BYU will finish the season with a string of eight conference matches, and McGown knows anything can happen.

"We think we still have a great chance in achieving a high post-season seed," McGown said. "All the teams in front of us, UCLA, Pepperdine and Hawai'i have matches against each other, and we still have to play Hawai'i at the end of the season -- it's going to be an exciting finish."