The BYU men’s volleyball team travels to California to take on No. 1 UC Irvine and UC San Diego this weekend.
This is the second time the Cougars have faced both of these teams in the same weekend this season. Those first meetings, Jan. 18 and 19, BYU beat UC Irvine 3–1 and UC San Diego 3–0. Since that loss to the Cougars, UC Irvine has been on fire. They have won 11 straight matches and moved back to No. 1 in the national rankings.
BYU setter Ryan Boyce won’t pick a winner for the big game, but gave a prediction about the effort the Cougars will give on the road.
“We’re going to play our best; everyone’s going to give it their all,” Boyce said. “We feel ready, we feel confident. You have to play free with your teammates, play hard and let the score speak for itself.”
Opposite hitter Ben Patch now knows what it’s like playing on the road after the team’s first roadtrip this season.
“Playing teams on the road is harder than I ever imagined,” Patch said. “Playing the number one team on the road is going to be really hard, but it’s something that all of us are cut out to do. Our mental focus this week is a lot higher than it was than we went against Pepperdine and USC. We know we have a job to do.”
The Cougars also hope to add to their 33 game winning streak against UC San Diego. BYU has never lost to UC San Diego, and are 14–0 against them on their home court.
Patch was also named national and conference player of the week after his strong performances in last weekend’s games. He recorded 13 kills in Friday’s match against Pacific and a career-high 26 kills against Stanford.
“It means a lot,” Patch said. “There’s so many amazing volleyball players in our league and in the nation. To be honored as player of the week is awesome, especially as a freshman. It’s just a blessing and an honor to me.”
Both games this weekend start at 7 p.m. PST.