No. 1 BYU 8-0 After Tussle with No. 6 CSUN
Provo, Utah - In a meeting of top-ten teams, No. 1 BYU (8-0, 3-0) beat No. 6 Cal State Northridge (6-3, 4-2) in four games in Provo Friday night (30-28, 19-30, 30-19, 30-26) to remain perfect on the year and will look to bring home another conference win Saturday against the Matadors in the Smith Fieldhouse.
Senior outside hitter Ivan Perez recorded his and his team's second double-double of the season with another 20-kill performance and 10 digs with a .351 hitting percentage. Senior opposite Jonathan Charette tallied 16 kills, senior middle blocker Trent Sorensen had 11. Sophomore outside hitter Andrew Stewart led the team with 12 digs.
"This is a huge, huge win for us to be able to grind out when the ball wasn't bouncing our way," BYU head coach Shawn Patchell said. "Brian Congelliere was our X factor tonight from the setter position. Andrew Stewart was also big for us with 12 digs and a .375 hitting percentage."
Both teams came out with equal intensity the first game. Neither was able to pull away from the other, and the crowd did not play much of a factor. A long rally capped by a tipped point from Ivan Perez livened the throng, however, as the Cougars took a two-point lead at 12-10. The Matadors fought back to tie the match and regained the lead with an ace at 16-17, quieting the thunder temporarily.
A free ball from the Cougar side of the court allowed CSUN to take their own two-point advantage at 21-23. A side out and consecutive receiving and hitting errors on the other side of the court put the cougars back on top at 26-25 to the cheers of the multitude. Reigning 2007 National Newcomer of the Year Yamil Perez came in to serve and saw his first action since injuring his ankle at UC San Diego the first match of the season. Back to back kills from Ivan Perez finished the first game at 30-28.
The Matadors revved on all cylinders to start the second game. They jumped out to a 7-3 lead with all three Cougar points coming from CSUN service errors. Two consecutive block assists from Holmes on the outside and right side brought BYU back to within two at 5-7. Long rallies coaxed the muted crowd back into the game, but the Matadors were unaffected and opened up another five-point advantage at 8-13.
Setting woes hindered the Cougar attack, prompting Patchell to call Yamil Perez back to action as a setter in only his second match this season. Yamil Perez sparked an offensive fire, and BYU began to claw its way back into the game. Unpopular calls from the referee stand brought a rumble from the crowd and contributed to a four-point CSUN lead. The Matadors channeled the momentum and ran away with the second game, 30-19, holding the Cougars to their lowest point total in any game this season excluding the lone fifth-game win of their season.
The Cougars began the third game on a roll of their own. Senior setter Brian Congelliere started the third game for BYU and kept the team in a consistent rhythm. The team broke open a four-point lead at 9-5 on solid hitting and defense at the net. The crowed exercised its influence as the Cougars charged the Matadors and forged ahead to a 17-12 lead.
Congelliere guided the Cougars back to a .400+ hitting percentage in the third game after hitting -.091 as a team in the second. A service ace from Holmes gave BYU its own nine-point lead at 25-16, and an Andrew Stewart kill increased the BYU lead to double digits for the first time in the match at 26-16. The fans were at their loudest after Congelliere dug a ball into the rafters and Sorensen and Ivan Perez finished the point on a block. BYU returned the routing with a 30-19 final in the third game.
The momentum BYU created in the third game continued in the fourth. The Cougars took and maintained an early two-point lead until CSUN was able to tie the game at 13-13 on a service ace. The Matadors took their first lead of the fourth game at 15-14 when the BYU offense was forced to send over a free ball. BYU did not allow CSUN any space, though, and regained the lead on a back-row kill from Stewart at 17-16.
The thousands of fans continued to grow louder, but CSUN did not allow BYU to run away with the fourth game. The two teams points until a block from Charette and Sorensen gave the Cougars a two-point lead at 25-23. Stewart's ninth kill increased the spread to three at 27-24, but the Matadors would not roll over.
BYU and CSUN will play again Saturday at 7 p.m. in the Smith Fieldhouse. The doors open at 5:30
Article courtesy of BYU athletics.