Top-Ranked BYU Set For Tough Non-Conference Tilt
PROVO -- Returning to the Provo after a three-match road trip to California last week, the No. 1 ranked BYU men's volleyball team will take on Quincy (11-3) on Friday, March 9 in the Smith Fieldhouse. Match time is scheduled for 7 p.m. (MST).
The Hawks enter Friday's contest riding a five match win streak, including a 3-1 win over Marycrest International on Tuesday. Quincy, a 1,200-student,private university in Quincy, Ill., currently ranks second in the Midwest Intercollegiate Volleyball Association with an 8-2 league record. The Hawks are only two games behind league-leading Lewis University (6-0) in the MIVA and despite losing to Ohio State earlier in the season, maintain a sizeable lead over the Buckeyes (4-3) in the league standings.
The Hawks are led by middle blocker Fernando Barretto, who ranks 15th in the nation in hitting percentage, registering a .424 average on the season. The 6-foot-7 sophomore has recorded 111 kills on 200 swings, committing only 27 errors. Barretto also average a team-leading 1.21 blocks per game. 6-foot-8 senior Rob Steinkuehler ranks second in the nation, averaging 5.53 kills per game. The St. Louis, Mo., native has produced a team-leading 271 kills on 525 attempts throughout the season.
Breaking down the Hawks, the Cougars will face a lineup that features Barretto at 6-foot-7, Felix Mann, a 6-foot-3 setter, Steinkuehler at 6-foot-8, middle blocker Paul Johnson at 6-foot-10, as well as a host of other players over 6-foot-5.
"At every position, they have height," BYU head coach Carl McGown said. "Combined with the fact we don't know very much about them, in terms of available scouting information, I am very concerned about Friday's match. We know they are a very tall and they are a good team with some nice wins this season. It is not going to be an easy battle for us by any means."
Despite losing at USC last week, the Cougars (12-1) retained 10-of-16 first-place votes in this week's USAToday/AVCA Coaches Top-15 poll to remain the nation's number-one ranked team -- thanks to a thrilling five-game victory at No. 2 Pepperdine and a decisive 3-1 win at No. 8 UC Santa Barbara last week. UCLA ranks second, while Pepperdine dropped to No. 3 and USC climbed to No. 4. With an 8-1 league record, BYU remains two games ahead of second-place UCLA (6-2) in the MPSF's West Region.
BYU leads the nation in overall hitting percentage, having produced a .394 team average on 1,282 swings. Junior Matt Olsen ranks second in the nation with a .538 hitting percentage, posting 88 kills on 143 attempts. All-American Scott Bunker ranks sixth with a .479 average. Junior Mike Wall ranks ninth nationally with a 4.73 kill-per-game average. The Santa Barbara, Calif., native has registered a team-leading 175 kills on the season. Bunker ranks sixth nationally, averaging 1.49 blocks per game, while Olsen ranks 17th with a 1.26 blocks-per-game average. Senior setter Hector Lebron has produced over 13 assists per game, ranking eighth in the nation.