Top-Ranked BYU Takes to the Road
PROVO, Utah -- After knocking off then top-ranked UCLA on Friday, 3-1, and No. 12 UC Irvine, 3-0, on Saturday, the BYU men's volleyball team remained the only undefeated team on the season and was selected the top-ranked program in this week's USAToday/AVCA Coaches Poll. The Cougars earned 13 of the 16 possible first-place votes, moving up from the No. 2 position in last week's poll.
HIT THE ROAD
BYU will travel to Southern California this week, playing a slate of three matches in four days -- all three against top-10 opponents. The Cougars will take on seventh-ranked USC (7-3) on Wednesday, then travel to eighth-ranked UC Santa Barbara (6-5) on Friday. BYU will conclude its second road trip of the season at No. 2 Pepperdine (10-2) on Saturday. The Cougars will not play at home again until Friday, March 9 (vs. Quincy).
The Cougar's match against USC on Wednesday will mark the second time the two teams have met this season. BYU ended the Trojans' 19-match homecourt win streak on Jan. 31, defeating USC, 3-0 in the North Gym. The Cougars have posted a 10-6 mark against the Trojans, dating back to the 1990 season. BYU has won five straight matches in the series, dating back to the 1998 season. The Cougars last loss against the Trojans came on Feb. 4, 1997 -- a 3-2 defeat in Los Angeles. After USC won four straight matches from 1990-1992, the Cougars have won 10 of the last 12 meetings. On Jan. 31, BYU improved to 4-0 after downing USC in three straight games. Junior Mike Wall led the Cougars with a match-high 12 kills, while Joaquin Acosta and Scott Bunker added nine kills apiece, while Bunker added a match-high eight blocks.
USC TOUGH AT HOME
USC is 203-61 (.769) in home matches in its 25-year history. The Trojans had a school-record 19-match home winning streak in North Gym (dating to the 1999 season) snapped when they lost to BYU earlier this season. Last year, USC went 14-0 in the North Gym, its first unblemished home season since 1991 and its most home wins ever.
JUST PLAIN CROWD PLEASING
The Cougars set at Smith Fieldhouse record with 6,119 fans in attendance for the Feb. 23rd matchup between No. 1 UCLA and No. 2 BYU. The event marked the first time in BYU history back-to-back National Champions met in Provo as the current No. 1 and No. 2 teams in the country. The attendance record at Friday's match marked the second largest crowd in the nation this season, falling just 341 shy of the season-high mark set at Hawai'i on Jan. 19. BYU officials were forced to turn an estimated 2,500-3,000 fans away due to the Smith Fieldhouse being filled to over capacity. (BYU defeated the Bruins, 3-1.)
1. 6,460 - UCLA at Hawai'i, Jan. 19
2. 6,119 - UCLA at BYU, Feb. 23
3. 5,128 - UC Santa Barbara at Hawai'i, Feb. 2
4. 4,889 - Cal State-Northridge at Hawai'i
5. 4,741 - Pacific at Hawai'i, Jan. 27
LEADER OF THE PACK
BYU head coach Carl McGown is in his 12th season at the helm of the BYU men's volleyball program. The 1999 AVCA National Coach of the Year has posted a career mark of 169-120 over the past 11 seasons, including a record 30-1 season in 1999. Since the 1997 campaign, McGown has averaged over 21 wins per year, recording a mark of 94-21 (.817). McGown led BYU to its first-ever National Championship in 1999 and has served as coach and as an advisor for the United States Olympic and National teams in various Olympic and international competitions.
The 2001 BYU roster is highlighted with players from around the world, including five players from Puerto Rico. The Cougars also have one player, Fernando Pessoa, from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and one player, Luka Slabe, from Ljubljana, Slovenia. All-American setter Hector Lebron, All-MPSF performer Joaquin Acosta and Jaime Mayol welcome Puerto Rican newcomers Angel Perez and Omar Olmeda to the 2001 roster.
ON A ROLL
BYU has won eight matches this season in three straight games. The Cougars have played only one five-game match, as well as just one four-game match. In a total of 33 games this season, the Cougars have posted a 30-3 mark. Including game five of the Jan. 27 match against 10th-ranked Lewis, BYU recorded 17 straight wins before losing game-two against UCLA on Friday, Feb. 23. After losing to the Bruins, 30-28, BYU has reeled off five more wins, including three-straight wins over UC Irvine on Saturday.
SCOUTING THE COUGARS
BYU has posted a .418 hitting percentage this season, led by All-American Scott Bunker. The 6-5 senior has recorded a .549 average on the season, hitting 74-of-113 at the net with just 12 hitting errors. Junior Matt Olsen is close behind with a .505 average, having recorded 60 kills on 101 swings with just nine errors. All totaled, six Cougars are hitting .400 or better on the season. Junior All-American candidate has recorded a team-leading 118 kills on the season, including 22 kills against UCLA on Friday. Wall is averaging 4.92 kills per game. Bunker and Olsen lead the BYU defensive effort, averaging a combined 2.94 blocks per game. Bunker has posted over 1.5 blocks per game, while Olsen adds another 1.42 blocks per contest. Senior All-American Hector Lebron has averaged 13.77 assists per game, as well as an impressive 0.97 blocks per game.
BYU IN THE POLLS
Here is a week-by-week look at the USAToday/AVCA Top-15 Poll:
Date Record Rank
Jan. 16 0-0 7th
Jan. 23 2-0 8th
Jan. 30 3-0 8th
Feb. 6 5-0 4th
Feb. 13 7-0 2nd
Feb. 20 8-0 2nd
Feb. 27 10-0 1st
2001 TOP PERFORMANCES
Scott Bunker vs Lewis (.706)
Mike Wall vs. Lewis (30)
Kills (3 Games)
Mike Wall vs. CS Northridge (14)
Mike Wall vs. Lewis (53)
Hector Lebron vs. Lewis (68)
Hector Lebron vs. UCLA (9)
Jonathan Alleman vs. UC San Diego (5)
Scott Bunker vs. USC (8)
Matt Olsen vs. UCLA (8)
Matt Olsen vs. Lewis (8)
After a road series against UC Irvine, the Cougars (5-1) moved up to No. 11 in this week’s AVCA coaches poll. BYU split…