Olsen Explodes in Third as No. 5 Cougars Claim 18th-Straight Over No. 8 Loyola Marymount
PROVO -- Junior Matt Olsen racked up 15 kills and six blocks while hitting .765 in the third game alone to lead BYU to a three-game sweep over the Lions, 15-3, 15-11, 17-15. The win puts BYU at 10-3 on the year (7-3 conf.) while Loyola falls to 2-4 (1-4 conf.) in the Cougars' 37th straight win at the Smith Fieldhouse.
"Clearly we really played well in game one. We had a good report on how they play from last night and we executed perfectly," said BYU coach Carl McGown. "In the second game we encountered the human tendency to get ahead and then kind of coast. Mac Wilson got a taste of that syndrome when he lit it up last night but struggled tonight."
BYU jumped out to a quick lead in the first game, going up 13-0 before the Lions finally responded. Loyola Marymount
managed to score three straight points, but it was not enough, as the Cougars marched to the 15-3 win. Mike Wall led the way with three kills, while Wilson came up with four blocks to help BYU.
After the quick start, BYU found itself in more of a battle in the second game. The Cougars trailed 0-3 before getting on the board and finally clawed their way back to even the score at seven. BYU used the momentum to take off on a 10-1 run, building a 14-8 lead. After rebuffing a late Lions rally, the Cougars captured the game with a score of 15-11.
Game three was up for grabs from the start. Neither team held more than a three-point lead at any time, and the lead changed hands seven times down the stretch. Olsen came off the bench to give the Cougars a huge lift in a crucial stretch when BYU turned a 10-7 deficit into a 13-10 lead. After battling to a 14-14 tie, neither team seemed to want the ball, committing four consecutive service errors. The Cougars took a 16-15 lead, then closed out the match with a block by Wall after ten sideouts on the point.
Wall led the Cougars with 16 kills and six blocks, while Olsen's fiery third game contributed 15 kills and six blocks. Loyola Marymount's Reid Priddy headed the Lions' effort with 30 kills and 12 digs in three games. Coach McGown is pleasantly surprised with his team's standing at the season's half-way point. "We're 11-3 and given who we put on the court it's a nice start. Ife we go 11-3 again to finish the year, I'll be ecstatic," said McGown.
The Cougars are back in action Friday night, as they take on No. 1 USC in the Smith Fieldhouse at 7 p.m. The match was originally scheduled to be played in the Marriott Center.
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