PROVO, Utah (April 21, 2007)--After taking an early exit from the postseason the past two season, No. 2 BYU coasted to a 30-26, 30-28, 30-26 sweep over No. 7 Cal-State Northridge in the MPSF quarterfinals.
The Cougars improve to 23-5 on the season with the victory while the Matadors finish their season with an 18-15 record.
"The guys were picking each other up tonight," co-head coach Ryan Millar said. "They showed a lot of heart tonight."
Yosleyder Cala led the way for BYU, knocking down 16 kills while hitting .464 (16-3-28). Robby Stowell added 14 kills while hitting at a .360 clip. The Cougars hit .370 as a team while CSUN hit .221. Eric Vance and Dan Rhodes led the Matadors with 15 kills apiece.
BYU got out to a quick start in the first set, jumping out to a 6-1 lead courtesy of a pair of Cougar service aces and early attack errors by the Matadors. CSUN responded, going on a 5-1 capped by an ace by Sean Pedersen to cut the Cougars lead to 10-8. BYU responded with a 5-1 run of its own as the Cougars pulled ahead. Northridge never led in the first set as BYU hit .333 while the Matadors swung at a .189 clip. Cala led the Cougars with eight kills in the opening game while Eric Vance had six for CSUN.
After jumping out to a 3-0 lead in the second set, BYU held on to the lead throughout as the two teams traded side outs. With the Cougars holding to a 16-13 lead, Northridge went on a 6-1 run to take its first lead of the match at 17-16. The Matadors extended their lead to three at 25-22 on a BYU blocking error. The Cougars responded with a 4-1 run capped by a Yamil Perez ace to tie the set at 26. After tying the game, BYU added two points on a Northridge hitting error and a second Perez ace. The Cougars were then able to trade side outs to hold on to the set with a Cala kill capping the game.
In the third set BYU got off to another quick start, jumping to an 11-5 lead. The Matadors fought back, going on a 9-4 run to cut the Cougars' lead to one and forcing a BYU timeout.
"We needed a timeout to regroup," co-head coach Shawn Patchell said. "We needed to get the energy back. The team really came together."
BYU came back with a 6-1 run to build a comfortable 21-15 advantage. The six-point advantage was won that the Cougars wouldn't relinquish. BYU held on to finish the match after CSUN made a small run.
The Cougars will now travel to Malibu, Calif. next Thursday to play in the semifinals against either third-seeded UC Irvine or sixth-seeded Hawaii. The match will start upon conclusion of the first semifinal match at approximately 8 p.m. (PDT)