The BYU men’s volleyball team will travel to southern California to take on UC Santa Barbara and UCLA.
BYU has won 11 straight games and are the hottest team in the nation. The Cougars have held onto the No. 1 spot in the nation for five straight weeks and have already locked up the No. 1 seed in the MPSF Conference tournament. Despite the recent fire, they have no plans of slowing down and preparing for the post-season.
“We play some teams that are hot right now,” outside hitter Ben Patch said. “Beating them will show that we mean business and we’re not going to take this lightly that we’re No. 1 or that we secured our spot.”
BYU has defeated both teams already this season. The Cougars defeated UC Santa Barbara in a fifth-set thriller in early February, despite four of UCSB’s players recording double-digit kills. USCB had won seven straight matches before suffering a setback against Cal Baptist earlier this week. UCSB is ranked No. 7 in the nation.
UCLA is ranked No. 3 in the nation and is on a six-game win streak. Bruins outside hitter Gonzalo Quiroga was named conference and national player of the week this week for his role in defeating UC San Diego and UC Irvine. Despite facing some tough teams, BYU will not change its game plan.
“We don’t regard (Quiroga) as ‘Oh, he’s coming off a great week, let’s do something special,'” BYU coach Chris McGown said. “That’s what we keep telling the guys all the time. We don’t have to play special, we don’t have to do something beyond our capabilities. If we just stick to our principles and stick to our systems, we can do a nice job against anyone.”
Patch believes the team is playing its best volleyball of the season right now.
“It’s probably the best volleyball we’ve played,” Patch said. “We’re looking every place to get better and looking at different aspects of our game to get better. We still have a long way to go in a short amount of time, and I think our ceiling is really high and our team could be even more tremendous.”
Both games start at 7 pm PST on Friday and Saturday. The UCLA game Saturday can be watched on the PAC-12 website here.