By Lindsey Wiseman
The No. 2 men?s volleyball team split with No. 1 Pepperdine last weekend, winning Friday?s match, Feb. 3, 2006, 3-1, then losing 3-0 on Saturday night, Feb. 4, 2006, before a sold-out Smith Fieldhouse.
It was a fire marshal?s worse nightmare Saturday night as there was only standing room for the capacity crowd in the Fieldhouse when the Cougars lost their first home game despite late leads in Games 2 and 3.
The No. 2 Cougars are now 8-2 overall and 6-2 in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation while the Waves are 6-1 overall, and 6-1 in the MPSF. The Cougars were 7-0 at home heading into Saturday?s match.
?Pepperdine was better for longer periods of time,? head coach Tom Peterson said. ?It wasn?t anything physical. It was mental. We couldn?t sustain a good level of play. That?s something we can fix if we want to and if we can come together as a team. Being consistent over a long period of time, that?s what is going to win a national championship.?
Yosleyder Cala, a freshman from Cuba, had a break-out performance this weekend leading the Cougars with 10 kills and two aces on Friday, and 20 kills and five digs on Saturday.
?I was ready, I was ready all night,? Cala said. ?I was excited to play against the number one team and to play hard, and I think I did that. I feel like I am supposed to be here.?
The 6-foot-eight outside hitter made his debut in Game 2 Friday night with the score tied at 28 and pounded two back-to-back kills to give BYU the win and ignite the crowd of 5,393.
?He came in at the right time,? Peterson said. ?He made some nice plays and his presence was very much felt. This was his first competition in two years so he?s still got a ways to go.?
Ivan Perez led the Cougars with match-highs of 21 kills and 11 digs Friday, while Jonathan Charette recorded the highest hitting percentage at .421 while finishing second on the team with 13 kills.
On Saturday, sophomore middle blocker Russell Holmes hit a team best .651 while adding 10 kills. As a team, BYU hit .274 for the match and had 5.5 blocks and 33 digs.
John Parfitt led Pepperdine on Saturday with 12 kills while Andy Hein added 10. The Waves hit .279 for the match, with 13.5 blocks and 30 digs.
Both Friday and Saturday night were sell-out crowds, forcing nearly 6,000 fans to squeeze into the aisles and onto the stairs.
?The minute I started hearing the cheering I thought this was going to be radical either way.? Peterson said.
The Cougars will be back in action against USC next Friday and Saturday, Feb. 10-11, 2006, at 7 p.m. in the Smith Fieldhouse.