Cougars Climb National Polls, Ranked No. 2
PROVO -- After back-to-back 3-0 wins over UC San Diego last weekend, the BYU men's volleyball team improved to 7-0 on the season, including a perfect 4-0 in league play. As the only undefeated Division-I team in the country, the Cougars climbed to No. 2 in this week's USAToday/AVCA Coaches Top-15 Poll, as well as Volleyball Magazine's Top-10 Ranking. UCLA (6-3) sits atop the USAToday/AVCA poll, while Long Beach State (6-1) is ranked No. 1 in the Volleyball Magazine poll and third in the AVCA/USAToday rankings.
"Certainly with the bulk of our schedule still ahead of us, including matches against UCLA, Stanford, Long Beach State, Hawai'i, UC Santa Barbara and others, being ranked second doesn't mean a whole lot at this point," BYU head coach Carl McGown said. "Even though I think we have a good team and we have played well at times, it's clear to me we still have a long way to go before we can say we deserve to be ranked number two."
The Cougars will play host to top-ranked Cal Baptist on Saturday, beginning at 7 p.m. in the Smith Fieldhouse. The Lancer's enter Saturday's match as the No.1-ranked NAIA team in the country, sporting a 5-3 record. Cal Baptist has won three of its last four matches, including three straight.
"Cal Baptist is a very good team," McGown said. "They forced four games against UCLA and UC Irvine, while taking Long Beach State to five games. They are very talented and we're not taking them lightly. This will be every bit as exciting and challenging as one of our upcoming league matches. I think Cal Baptist is probably the best team we will have faced at home this season."
BYU will enter Saturday's exhibition match as the top-ranked hitting team in the country. The Cougars have recorded 372 kills on 633 attempts, averaging a national best .442 at the net. BYU is led by three players ranked in the top 10 in hitting. Matt Olsen ranks second in the country with a .589 average, while Matt Olsen ranks fourth, hitting .528. Mike Wall ranks sixth with a .508 average and also ranks fourth, averaging 5.13 kills per game.
Senior Hector Lebron ranks second in the nation in assists, averaging 14.55 assists per game. Bunker and Olsen ranked 5th and 8th, respectively, in blocking average, posting 1.44 and 1.39 blocks per game. The BYU defense is anchored by Fernando Pessoa, who ranks 14th with 1.84 digs per game.
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…