No. 1 men’s volleyball prepares for Long Beach State, Cal State Northridge

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The BYU men’s volleyball team hosts the No. 7 Long Beach State 49ers and No. 9 Cal State Northridge Matadors this weekend in the Smith Fieldhouse.

The Cougars had a week off after defeating then No. 1 UC Irvine and have since become the No. 1 in the country.

Opposite hitter Ben Patch said he believes the ranking is deserved.

BYU opposite hitter Ben Patch goes up for a kill during this season’s match against against Lewis in the Smith Fieldhouse. No. 1 BYU takes on Long Beach and Northridge Friday and Saturday. (Photo by Chris Bunker)

“Teams now see that we’re number one and how good we actually are,” Patch said. “Everyone is aiming for us and everyone wants to beat BYU because we are, in right, the number one team in the country.”

BYU hosts Long Beach State (6–3, 4–2) on Friday night. The Cougars hold a 24–19 all-time record against the 49ers, including a fifth-set victory over them in the semifinals of the NCAA tournament last year.

“(What) I remember most is that team is good enough to take over a match at any point,” BYU head coach Chris McGown said. “We have to fight and we have to battle for every single point until the match is over. If you put it in cruise control they’ll sneak up on you in a hurry and get in the match and we can’t let that happen. We have to be great throughout the entire match.”

The 49ers are led by outside hitter Taylor Crabb. Despite being only 6’0″ and 150 lbs., he leads the team in kills, recording 135 kills on the season and averaging 3.86 per set.

The Cougars then host Brandon Lebrock and Cal State Northridge on Saturday. The Matadors are coming off a loss against Cal Baptist on the road Wednesday night, dropping them to 4–3 on the season. Outside hitter Lebrock has 66 kills on the year with a .209 hitting percentage.

However, McGown is confident his team can take these two matches this weekend.

“We’re talking to our guys about how good these teams are,” McGown said. “We need to bring a lot of focus this week to practice, and practice in a way that (will) be representative of how we want to play this weekend. If we can receive well enough to do our thing offensively, we’re in good shape, and if we can serve well enough to keep them out of rhythm, then our defense can take over. We like our chances.”

The match Friday against Long Beach State will be televised on BYUtv and starts at 7 p.m. The match against Northridge starts Saturday at 7 p.m.

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