BYU hosts the No. 5 Pepperdine Waves and the USC Trojans on Thursday and Saturday in its last regular season home matches of the season.
Pepperdine is the only team in the MPSF Conference that BYU has not defeated this season. Coming in with a nation best nine-game winning streak and losing only one set in its last five games, BYU is the hottest team in the country and is looking to exact revenge on one of only three teams to defeat it this year. BYU coach Chris McGown remembers the defeat at the hands of Pepperdine in mid-February.
“I thought we weren’t entirely prepared to play that match at that time on the road in that gym,” McGown said.
After facing each team once already this season, McGown is preparing the Cougars for adjustments to make sure a stinging loss doesn’t occur at this crucial time of the year.
“Both teams have servers that can go on a three or four point run,” McGown said.”It gives them a huge advantage, and last time when we were down there that was the biggest issue. For both matches we just didn’t handle their serve as well as we would have liked.”
BYU setter Ryan Boyce was named AVCA National and MPSF Conference Player of the Week last week for his contribution in the Cougars’ weekend road victories. He handed out 38 and 35 assists in back-to-back sweeps over CS Northridge and Long Beach State. Boyce deflected all the praise to his teammates.
“It’s amazing, but for sure I wouldn’t be able to do it without the guys around me,” Boyce said. “I put the ball up there and they hit the ball, you know it’s a simple game, I guess, but I couldn’t do it without those guys.”
It is the first such award for Boyce in his career at BYU, and the fourth player of the week honor for a BYU player this season. Outside hitter Taylor Sander has won the award once, and opposite hitter Ben Patch has won the award twice.
For the seniors on the squad, it is the last regular season home game of their career.
“I love playing at home,” Boyce said. “The crowd is just amazing here. Hopefully it won’t be our last time playing in the Fieldhouse, but it’s our last regular season home match. It’s kind of sad. I’m going to miss it a ton and just want to go out this year on a high note. I’m just trying not to think about it too much.”
The game Thursday against Pepperdine starts at 7 p.m., and the game Saturday against USC starts at 8 p.m. Both games will be aired on BYUtv.