Brigham Young University
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University of Southern California
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wweekes | Posted: 16 Feb 2013 | Updated: 8 Nov 2020

Cougars earn first road victory at USC


LOS ANGELES -- Bouncing back after a loss to capture its first road win of the season, the No. 1 BYU men’s volleyball team defeated No. 10 USC 3-1 (25-18, 17-25, 25-22, 25-18) Saturday at the Galen Center.

"Before the match we talked about how it would be easy to come out and play emotionally flat after the tough loss on the road," BYU head coach Chris McGown said. "It's our first road trip and traveling wears you down and you're in a different environment. The guys found a different level though tonight. This was more about being scrappy and playing hard every single point than it was anything else. I was impressed with them."

Junior Taylor Sander led BYU (8-3, 7-2 MPSF) with 23 kills and 10 digs, while adding two aces and a .543 clip. Senior Russ Lavaja recorded a team-high .588 hitting percentage and added 11 kills and three blocks.

"Taylor had a wonderful match and Michael Hatch stepped up and started and played really well for us," McGown said.

Tanner Jansen recorded a team-high 18 kills for USC (3-5, 3-5 MPSF).

The Cougars jumped out early in the first set taking a 4-1 lead with kills from Hatch and Sander. Ben Patch extended the lead with back-to-back service aces to push BYU in front by five. The Cougars picked up a 13-7 lead after adding another ace from Sander. BYU kept the pace and moved ahead 20-13 and USC was unable to overcome the lead. Lavaja finished off set one with a kill to give the Cougars a 25-18 win.

Sander and Patch combined for 10 kills on 15 attempts to lead BYU in the first set. Sander carried his team with a .750 hitting percentage.

USC switched the momentum in its favor in set two, taking a 10-3 command. Despite a 4-1 run by BYU, the Trojans continued to plow ahead and took a 22-14 lead. Two Cougar errors sealed the set for USC, 25-17. After 16 kills in the first, BYU finished the second set with eight kills and six errors while hitting only .083.

The third set started with a back-and-forth competition until the Cougars pulled ahead by four. A pair of kills by Josue Rivera secured a 12-7 BYU lead. The Cougars maintained the distance to move ahead by five, but service aces put the Trojans back in the set and within one, 19-18. Sander ended the 5-0 USC run with a kill, but the Trojans answered with their own. Patch dished out a kill to give BYU the set point and the Cougars finished it off on the next point, 25-22.

The team exchanged points to begin set four until BYU’s defense hustled for three-straight points to go up 7-5. Lavaja interrupted a 3-0 Trojan run with a big block in the middle and the Cougars worked their way to a 15-10 advantage. A pair of USC errors pushed BYU ahead 21-14 and the Cougars didn’t look back. BYU took the set, 25-18, and match.

The Cougars return to the Smith Fieldhouse for matches against Pacific and Stanford, Feb. 22 and 23, respectively.

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wweekes | Posted: 12 Feb 2013 | Updated: 8 Nov 2020

First road trip of the season for No. 1 BYU


T-No.1 BYU (8-2, 7-1 MPSF)
No. 5 Pepperdine (5-4, 5-4 MPSF)
No. 10 USC (2-5, 2-5 MPSF)

PROVO, Utah - After ten straight home matches, the No. 1 BYU men’s volleyball team gears up for its first road trip of the season as it visits No. 5 Pepperdine Feb. 15 and No. 10 USC Feb. 16.

The American Volleyball Coaches Association ranked BYU No. 1 for the fourth-straight week. The last time the Cougars accomplished the feat was in 2008 when BYU held the top spot for seven-straight weeks between Jan. 8 – Feb. 19.

BYU, also ranked No. 1 in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation, leads the conference in hitting percentage (.344) and in blocks (3.19 per set). The Cougars are ranked third in opponent hitting percentage, holding opposing teams to a .231 clip.

BYU is home to the leading blocker in the MPSF in Russ Lavaja with 1.46 blocks per set. Lavaja is also ranked fourth in hitting percentage with a .484 clip.

Junior All-American Taylor Sander leads BYU in kills with a 3.97 average. Sander has recorded double-digit kills in all ten matches of the season. Next in line is freshman Ben Patch with 3.05 per set.

Last weekend, the Cougars edged out then-No. 15 UCSB 3-2 before sweeping then-No. 6 UCLA.


Pepperdine holds five top-5 conference team rankings. The Waves are No. 3 in assists (12.09), No. 4 in hitting percentage (.308) and blocks (2.85), and No. 5 in kills (12.76) and service aces (1.21).

Sophomore Matt West holds the top-spot in assists in the MPSF with an average of 11.18. West has also recorded 13 service aces on the season.

BYU captured 3-0 and 3-1 wins against Pepperdine last season. The Waves lead the overall series 27-22 and are 19-8 at home against the Cougars. Despite the series record, BYU has not lost at Pepperdine since 2009.

The Waves split their matches last weekend, coming away with a 3-0 win at then-No. 3 Long Beach State before dropping a 3-2 contest at then-No. 10 Cal State Northridge.

Before hosting BYU, Pepperdine takes on No. 11 Cal Baptist Wednesday.


The Trojans are ranked in the top-5 in three categories in the MPSF. USC is No. 2 in assists (12.28) and blocks (3.00), and No. 3 in kills (12.92).

Sophomore Ben Lam holds the second-best blocks average in the conference with 1.42 per set.

BYU grabbed both wins against USC in 2012, edging out the Trojans 3-1 and 3-2. The Cougars own the overall series with a 28-11 record. BYU is 10-7 when playing at USC.

USC is coming off losses at then-No. 10 Cal State Northridge 3-1 and then-No. 3 Long Beach State 3-1. The Trojans are on a four-match losing streak, their longest since a similar skid at the end of the 2008 season and start of the 2009 season.

USC hosts No. 11 Cal Baptist Thursday before welcoming BYU on Saturday.

Fans can view live stats for the Pepperdine match here and for the match against USC here. BYU vs. USC will also be video streamed live through the portal.

Match updates can also be found on Twitter by following @BYUvolleyball.

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