By Andrew Pepper
The BYU men”s volleyball team celebrated its regular season home finale by defeating UC San Diego twice over the weekend, officially earning the right to host a first-round Mountain Pacific Sports Federation tournament match.
The Cougars beat the Tritons Friday (30-17, 30-32, 30-25, 30-23) and Saturday (30-22, 30-26, 30-22) to improve to 20-5 overall and 16-4 in the MPSF while dropping the Tritons 5-21 overall and 2-19 in MPSF.
With the weekend wins and a UC Irvine loss to UCLA, BYU moved into the second seed of the upcoming conference tournament with two regular season games remaining.
Saturday was Senior Night, and the Cougars honored the only senior this season, opposite hitter Scott Cox. After transferring from a club team at UVSC, Cox has played two seasons with BYU, appearing in every match in 2007.
Cox played a significant portion of time, collecting 11 kills and four digs Friday while hitting .500 and 10 kills and two blocks Saturday.
“It”s a nice chance to get out and play with this great group of guys,” said Cox. “It”s nice to play my last night.”
Cox led a balanced offensive attack for the Cougars with 10 kills Saturday, while Ivan Perez added nine digs and Trent Sorensen contributed nine blocks.
“It”s nice to have Scottie go out with a bang on Senior Night,” BYU co-head coach Ryan Millar said. “He”s been great for us all year.”
Frank Fritsch”s game-high 15 kills led the Tritons. Eric Leserman had 10 digs with Stephen Shaw and Gerald Houseman each adding one block solo for UCSD.
Saturday”s match was a much-improved performance from Friday, when BYU won three games to one, but the score did not reflect the competitive nature of the match.
Perez led the Cougar attack Friday with 17 kills and two service aces, while Russell Holmes added another 12 kills. Yamil Perez contributed 13 digs, and Rodnei Santos added seven blocks.
“We won,” Ivan Perez said. “You can”t take the ”W” from us, but we want to win respectfully.”
Although the Cougars won, they were disappointed in how they played. Mental errors and lapses in focus kept the game closer than expected.
“We wanted to play with more heart than we did,” Patchell said. “We need to play longer periods of time with more concentration.”
Will Ehrman had 23 kills for the Tritons, along with 11 kills from Jason Spangler. Leserman had 13 digs and Shaw, Houseman and Andy Northness each had three kills to lead UCSD.
With the two victories, the Cougars clinched the right to host their first game of the conference playoffs April 21.
Tickets will be available to season ticket holders starting today with tickets opening up to the general public April 16. Tickets range from $5 to $12.
The men”s volleyball team will finish the regular season next week traveling to Stockton, Calif. to play at No. 11 Pacific next weekend.