NCAA Championship Rematch Set for Friday
PROVO -- With the 2003 NCAA National Championship match still fresh on their minds, the top-ranked Cougars will host Lewis University on Friday, March 26 in the Smith Fieldhouse. The match, which will be broadcast nationally on CSTV, will begin at 9 p.m. (MDT). The Flyers edged BYU last year in an exciting five-game match to claim their first-ever NCAA National Championship.
"We're excited to play Lewis because they are a good team and it will be an interesting match between last year's championship teams," BYU head coach Tom Peterson said. "We hope fans will come out and enjoy the match. We're looking forward to having them come to Provo."
At last season's national championship tournament in Long Beach, Calif., Lewis outlasted the Cougars for the five-game victory. After dropping a hard-fought 42-44 loss in game one, the Flyers rallied to take games two and three, 30-27, 30-21.
The Cougars bagged game four. But a 7-1 run in the fifth set propelled Lewis to its first-ever NCAA National Championship with the 15-13 win in the fifth and decisive game. In the process, the Flyers became the first Midwest Intercollegiate Volleyball Association team, and non-Division I school, to win the NCAA National Championship.
Jonathan Alleman, a senior on this year's squad, was named to the 2003 NCAA All-Tournament team after posting 18 kills, seven digs and five blocks against Lewis. He was also credited with 17 kills on 30 attempts in the semi-final win over Penn State, while adding four aces and 10 digs for his third-straight double-double in post-season play.
Other Cougars this season who played against Lewis include All-American Carlos Moreno and returning starters Chris Gorny, Michael Burke and Fernando Pessoa.
Currently the Cougars are riding a 16-match win streak, the longest active win streak in the nation and the second longest in the program's history. BYU's 1999 national championship team holds the record with an 18-match win streak.
Earning 13 of the possible 16 first-place votes in this week's USA Today/AVCA Coaches Poll, the Cougars enter their third week as the top-ranked team in the nation. The Cougars also hold a three-match lead over Long Beach State for the league lead in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation.
The Cougars have posted a mark of 15-1 against teams ranked in the top-15, including wins over Hawaii, Pepperdine, Long Beach State, UC Santa Barbara, Stanford and UC Irvine. Most recently, BYU held on for back-to-back wins against fifth-ranked Hawaii in Honolulu, site of the 2004 NCAA Men's Volleyball Final Four.
The match on Friday will be the seventh meeting between the two teams, with BYU holding a 5-1 overall record against the Flyers. The Cougars' five wins have all come in Provo, while the only loss was in last year's championship match.
Lewis enters Friday's match-up after winning its third straight match on Saturday, defeating conference foe Quincy in four games. Lewis (11-10, 7-3) was led by senior opposite Fabiano Barreto, who had a match-high 25 kills, hitting .452, with one service ace, seven digs, five block assists, and 28.5 total points.
The Lewis match will be broadcast live at 9 p.m. on College Sports TV, available on DirecTV, channel 610. BYU will also host George Mason on Saturday at 7 p.m. in the Smith Fieldhouse. George Mason will play Lewis on Thursday, Mar. 25 at 7 p.m.