Five Cougars Hit No. 2 BYU Past No. 5 Pepperdine

3/7/2008

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Provo, Utah - In a renewed rivalry between top Mountain Pacific Sports Federation elites, the No. 2 BYU men's volleyball team (15-1, 10-1) topped No. 5 Pepperdine (8-6, 8-6) in four sets Friday night (30-20, 30-25, 31-33, 30-26) at the Smith Fieldhouse to remain atop the MPSF standings.

For only the second time this season five Cougar hitters tallied 10 or more kills. Ivan Perez led the way with 19 kills and a .343 attack percentage. He was followed by Jonathan Charette with 16, Russell Holmes and Andrew Stewart with 13 apiece, and Trent Sorensen with 12. As a team BYU hit .379 and kept Pepperdine to .269. The Cougars have yet to allow an opponent to hit .300 against them this season.

"I was especially pleased with how we methodically took care of our roles in the first two games," BYU head coach Shawn Patchell said. "Our philosophy is to get a number of different guys involved, and that's what we did."

BYU controlled the first set the entire way. Senior setter Brian Congelliere set the Cougars to a .682 attack percentage and 16 kills. Perez and Holmes each had two block assists, and Charette led all hitters with five kills of his own. Holmes' two kills in the set were the first and last points of the set. Pepperdine did hit .360 in the first game, but nine service errors handcuffed the Waves as the Cougars took the set 30-20.

Pepperdine held a slight advantage through the opening points of the second set. BYU's defense kept the Waves in check, though, and propelled the Cougars to its first lead of the set at 13-12. The Cougars took the second set 30-25 thanks in part to 12 team digs and four total team blocks. The Cougar defense also held the Waves to a .056 attack percentage in the set. The final point of the set was secured as the BYU front line blocked three Pepperdine attacks in a row in the same rally until the third hit the floor on the Waves' side.

Neither team was able to pull away in the third set. The Waves controlled the lead for much of the set, but never by more than three points. BYU held the lead to 27-26, but Pepperdine scored the next two points to regain the late lead. The scored knotted again at 29-29, and the throng roared as the two teams continued to exchange sideouts. The scales tipped in Pepperdine's direction at the end of the set, though, and BYU lost the third 31-33.

The fourth and deciding set saw the Cougars take an early lead and shift the momentum back in their direction. Pepperdine did all it could to rein in the charging BYU offense and find holes in the stingy BYU defense, but it was all for naught. The Cougars hit .381 in the set and racked up 3.5 more total team blocks to win 30-26.

Unfortunately, Congelliere went down in the early part of the fourth set with an ankle injury, and sophomore setter Reed Chilton replaced him on the court. There is still no word about when Congelliere will be able to return, but he said he hopes to be back very soon.

The same two teams will square off against each other again Saturday at 7 p.m. in the Smith Fieldhouse. Doors open at 5:30 p.m.

Article courtesy of BYU athletics.

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