The No. 3 BYU men’s volleyball team hosts No. 1 UC Irvine and No. 13 UC San Diego at the Smith Fieldhouse this weekend.
BYU takes on UC Irvine (4–2, 1–2 MPSF) Friday night. The Cougars are 39–12 all-time against the defending national champions, including a 2–1 record against them last year. Both of those victories came on the road, but Head Coach Chris McGown isn’t hanging his hat on this fact.
“I wouldn’t say we have their number by any means, not in any way,” McGown said. “If we play our game and just do what we do, we’ll be in good shape.”
Hosting the number one team has sophomore outside hitter Josue Rivera excited though.
“I’d say were super fired up, you know we can prove ourselves (if) we can beat them,” Rivera said. “For sure we’re going to play our volleyball, and (if we) play how we play, (we’re) going to beat them.”
UC Irvine is led by outside hitter Jeremy Dejno, who recorded 21 kills and a .487 in a loss to No. 14 Cal Baptist on Wednesday.
BYU hosts UC San Diego (3–3, 2–1 MPSF) on Saturday night. The Cougars have never lost to the Tritons, posting a 32-0 all-time record against them. UC San Diego is coming off a 3–2 victory over Cal Baptist on Thursday.
The Cougars slipped to third in the nation after splitting back-to-back matches against Lewis University last weekend. Winning both games this weekend will most likely move BYU to the number one spot in the rankings.
Cougar outside hitter Taylor Sander was named as one of the three returning players to watch in the nation, according to NCAA.com. Sander and middle blocker Russ Lavaja were preseason All-Americans at the start of the year.
The game Friday night against UC Irvine will be televised on BYUtv and starts at 7 p.m. in the Smith Fieldhouse. The match against the Tritons starts Saturday at 7 p.m.