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LOS ANGELES – No. 7 BYU men's volleyball fell 3-2 (20-25, 21-25, 25-16, 25-23, 16-14) to No. 2 USC at the Galen Center Thursday night in a battle for sole possession of first place in Mountain Pacific Sports Federation play.
"We gave everything we had tonight," BYU head coach Chris McGown said. "Unfortunately, things didn't go our way there at the end. USC is always a tough place to play. We look forward to another highly competitive matchup tomorrow night where we can hopefully come out with a split in the series."
Jake Langlois led the Cougars with a career-high 23 kills, eight digs and a career-high eight blocks. Josue Rivera added double-digit kills with 11 and five blocks. Robbie Sutton contributed 28 assists while Michael Hatch added a team-high nine blocks, including two solo.
The Trojans (9-1, 8-1 MPFS) ended the match with a 11-0 service ace advantage while the Cougars (8-3, 7-2 MPSF) finished with a 20.5-5.0 block advantage.
Phil Fuchs got a kill to start the decisive fifth set for BYU 1-0 against USC. The teams traded points from there as the score was tied until a Trojan service ace put them up 7-5 near the midway point of the set. Another BYU block put the Cougars back up in the set 10-9, forcing a USC timeout. The Trojans countered with a trio of points to retake the lead 12-10, as BYU took a timeout. With the score knotted up at 13 apiece, USC got a point from an attack error. The Cougars staved off match point until another attack error ended the set and match 16-14 for the Trojans.
BYU got the first point of the first set after a Rivera kill ended a lengthy rally against USC. The two teams traded points from there until a Trojan attack error gave the Cougars a three-point advantage at 6-3. USC stayed in the match as consecutive service aces tied the score at 9-9, forcing McGown to take his first timeout. The score went back-and-forth until a pair of blocks from Langlois and Hatch put BYU back up by three at 16-13. After a Trojan timeout, USC scored four-consecutive points to take its first lead of the set, 17-16. The Cougars quickly countered with a 6-1 run, capped off by a Rivera kill, to get a four-point set lead at 22-18. A Langlois kill then closed out the set for BYU, 25-20.
The Cougars jumped out to a 3-1 lead in the second set after a Rivera and Joseph Grosh block. BYU extended its lead at 8-4 following a Langlois kill, forcing the Trojans' first timeout. A trio of errant USC attack errors kept the Cougars in front, 14-7, as the Trojans took their final timeout of the set. An ace from USC's Robert Feathers then capped off a 4-1 Trojan run which cut BYU's lead to four at 17-13, forcing its first timeout of the set. The Cougars kept their lead, however, ending the set 25-21 on a Langlois and Hatch block.
A Rivera block started BYU with the first point of the third set, but USC quickly countered with four-straight points to go up 4-1. The Cougars fought back, but the Trojans remained ahead 11-6 after another kill, forcing McGown to take his final timeout of the set. After USC led by as many as six at 17-11, BYU went on a 3-1 rally of its own, finished by a kill from Hatch, to cut the lead to four at 18-14. The run proved too little too late as the Trojans took the set 25-16.
Rivera's kill ended a 3-0 run as USC started the fourth set ahead 6-1. The Cougars stayed in the set, down just three at 12-9, and a 4-1 run then forced a Trojan timeout with BYU trailing by just one at 13-12. The Cougars took their first lead of the set at 14-13 from another Hatch block. The score was then tied from points 15 to 22 as a hard kill from Fuchs kept the set tied late at 22-22. BYU fended off one set point until USC took it 25-23 from a kill, sending the match to a decisive fifth set.
The Cougars return to the Galen Center Friday at 7 p.m. PST to face off against the Trojans for a rematch. The match will be streamed live on pac-12.com. Links to live stats and the video feed can be found on the BYU men's volleyball schedule page.
PROVO, Utah – No. 7 BYU men’s volleyball hits the road this week for a pair of conference matches at No. 2 USC.
- The Cougars (8-2, 7-1 Mountain Pacific Sports Federation) face off against the Trojans (8-1, 7-1 MPSF) Thursday and Friday night at 7 p.m. PST at the Galen Center.
- BYU and USC are tied for first place in the league, each with just one loss in conference play. The Cougars fell at USCB while the Trojans lost their first match of the season last week at Hawaii.
- The two teams met three times a season ago, with BYU picking up all three wins – a five-set victory on the road and two sweeps at home (including an MPSF tournament quarterfinals victory).
- The Cougars lead the overall series 33-11, but are just 12-7 when playing at USC.
- The Trojans were picked to finish third in the conference this season after an eighth-place finish a year ago.
USC is led by Christopher Orenic’s 3.20 kills per set, Micah Christenson’s 10.75 assist average, 1.89 digs per set from Brooks Varni and a 1.04 block average from Andy Benesh.
BYU won both matches last week against Cal Baptist – on Friday in four sets before getting a sweep on Saturday – to extend its record home-winning streak to 32-straight matches.
Both matches this week will be streamed live on pac-12.com. Links to live stats and video feeds can be found on the BYU men’s volleyball schedule page.