BYU men’s volleyball drops to No. 2, hosts two games this weekend

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The BYU men’s volleyball team has a lot to prove this weekend even though its record wouldn’t indicate that.

BYU hosts the No. 14 Pacific Tigers Friday night and the No. 5 Stanford Cardinals Saturday night. Stanford is the only team that went undefeated against the Cougars last season and eventually knocked them out of the NCAA tournament last year in the semifinals. That loss ended BYU’s season.

Russ Lavaja spikes the ball during BYU’s victory against UCLA on Feb. 9. (Photo by Elliott Miller)

The Cougars also dropped to No. 2 in the national rankings this week after spending four weeks at No. 1. UC Irvine moved up to the top spot this week on a nine game winning streak. The Anteaters last loss came against the Cougars in Provo on Feb. 9.

BYU Assistant coach Mike Wilton offered insight to the Cougars final loss last season.

“(Stanford was) just steadier than we were last year,” Wilton said. “They played a more error-free game than we did. They were quite a good team.”

The 9–5 Cardinals are led by a pair of 6’7″ outside hitters, Brian Cook and Steve Irvin. Cook averages 4.1 kills per set, while Irvin averages 3.2 kills per set. Middle blocker Michael Hatch said BYU coach Chris McGown is getting the Cougars ready for them.

“I don’t think they make too many mistakes,” Hatch said. “They’re a smart team and so they just put the ball in play and try to make the other team make the mistakes.”

BYU has been historically successful against Pacific, going 29–5 all-time against the Tigers, including a 15–0 mark at home. The Tigers are led by outside hitter Taylor Hughes averaging 3.7 kills per set.

Both games will be held in the Smith Fieldhouse and start at 7 p.m.They will also air on BYUtv.

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