Men’s Volleyball Off to California

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    By Andrew Pepper

    The No. 1 BYU men”s volleyball team will travel to play one match against Cal-Baptist Tuesday, Feb. 13, 2007, before heading to face No. 3 Pepperdine later in the week.

    The Cougars look to improve on their 9-1 record facing Cal-Baptist (9-5), a team they have already beaten twice in 2007. After losing their first four matches of the season, the Lancers have won nine of their last ten matches.

    BYU will look to rebound against Cal-Baptist, having dropped its last match to No. 2 UC Irvine in five games on Feb. 3.

    The 33-error effort was deemed, “a nice wake up call,” by co-head coach Ryan Millar.

    “We weren”t making the plays,” Millar said. “We made some bad choices. We made some dumb hitting errors.”

    Although the Cougars” last game was a loss, BYU retained its No. 1 national ranking after splitting the weekend series with the Anteaters. Following a unanimous No. 1 selection the week before, the Cougars received 11 of the 16 first-place votes. The Anteaters received three first place votes.

    Like the Cougars, the Lancers are coming off a loss that snapped a long winning streak. Before losing to Long Beach State, Cal-Baptist had won nine matches in a row. BYU also had a nine-match winning streak before losing to UCI.

    The Cougars are 5-1 against Cal-Baptist in their last six regular-season matches, dating back to a Cougar loss in 2005 in five sets. BYU has won 17 of 22 sets between the two teams in those six matches.

    The Lancers have been ranked No. 1 in the Golden State Athletic Conference since the pre-season, but have proven ineffective in beating big-name schools. The Lancers have only lost to nationally ranked UC Irvine, BYU, Pepperdine and Long Beach State this season.

    The Cougars have defeated the Lancers twice this season, 3-0 and 3-1 at the Smith Fieldhouse. In those two matches, the Lancers committed 11 more errors than the Cougars, with BYU collecting 40 more kills than Cal-Baptist.

    Awudu Shamsu of Ghana leads the Lancers in kills, averaging 5.06 a game. The Lancers” Romain Vetter of Switzerland and Urs Gunthor of Germany lead the team with 107 combined total blocks, while Corey Spence is averaging 1.88 digs per game for Cal-Baptist.

    The Cougars” Ivan Perez and Robby Stowell have combined for 246 kills this season, averaging 3.72 and 3.85 a game, respectively. Russell Holmes leads the Cougars with 52 total blocks, while Joel Silva is averaging 2.45 digs per game.

    Live statistics and audio will be available from schedule portion of the team”s page on byucougars.com

    The Cougars will also play Thursday and Saturday in Malibu, Calif. against Pepperdine University (9-1).

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