No. 1 Cougars To Play No. 5 Hawai`i
PROVO -- Testing a 14-match winning streak, the No.1-ranked Cougars travel to fifth-ranked Hawai`i, to play at the Stan Sheriff Center on Mar. 18 and 20. Each match begins at 10 p.m. (MST) and will be available through Internet broadcasts: KFVE (Ch. 5) and KKEA Sports Radio (1420 AM).
For the second week, the BYU men's volleyball team (15-3, 13-1 MPSF) is ranked No. 1 on the USA Today/AVCA Top 15 Coaches' Poll. Last week the team was tied with UCLA for first place, but pulled ahead after beating fifth-ranked Pepperdine twice last week.
"It will be a hard match; Hawai`i is a very good team," BYU head coach Tom Peterson said. "It's always hard playing in someone else's gym, especially Hawaii. They bring in huge crowds. We can't relax in these matches just because we're ranked first. We still need to improve and make sure we bring our emotion to the matches."
The match up this weekend will be the 29th meeting between the two teams, as BYU leads the series 16-12 overall and Hawai`i leads 8-4 in Honolulu. Last season, the Cougars won 2-of-3 matches against the Warriors, splitting 1-1 at home and defeating Hawai`i in the MPSF Tournament Semifinals. The Warriors were tied with Pepperdine last week at the No. 5 spot in the AVCA.
This week four Hawai`i volleyball players Delano Thomas, Pedro Azenha, Jose Delgado and Dio Dante have been suspended from the team for violating team rules, head coach Mike Wilton announced Monday. All four will not participate in this week's matches, but may be reinstated as soon as Mar. 22.
During last week, BYU hosted fifth-ranked Pepperdine and finished with two wins, both in four games. The game scores for the match were 36-38, 30-24, 30-25, 30-27. The 14-match winning streak is the second longest streak in BYU history. The 1999 team holds the longest with 18. The Waves fell to 11-6 overall, 7-6 in league play. Both Joe Hillman and Fernando Pessoa posted career-highs with 26 and 24, respectively.
After winning the first two games by a combined 21 points, BYU picked up the first win over the Pepperdine on Friday of last week, 3-1 (30-18, 30-21, 23-30, 30-28). BYU held the Waves to a .000 percentage in the first game, while hitting a solid .385 percentage as a team. Sophomore Victor Batista gave the Cougars a huge lift with a blistering .783 percent, connecting on 18 kills and committing no errors.
Over the weekend, junior setter Carlos Moreno posted 57 and a season-high 77 assists to earn AVCA National Player of the week. Moreno averaged 16.75 assists per game last week to help the Cougars avenge preseason losses to Pepperdine.
Next week the Cougars will host non-conference teams for a two-match home stand, defending National Champion Lewis University on Mar. 26 and George Mason on Mar. 27. The BYU vs. Lewis match will be broadcast on College Sports TV, available on DirecTV channel 610.