PROVO, Utah (Apr. 11, 2008) - Creeping ever closer to solidifying home-court advantage throughout the upcoming Mountain Pacific Sports Federation playoff, the No. 2 BYU men's volleyball team (22-4, 17-4) swept No. 10 USC (13-14, 10-11) 30-26, 30-24, 30-25 in the Smith Fieldhouse Friday night and will face the Trojans Saturday night in the last regular season match of the year.
A BYU win in conjunction with a CS Northridge win over Long Beach State in Northridge, Calif., Saturday would seal home-court advantage for the Cougars throughout the MPSF playoffs.
Senior All-American Russell Holmes led BYU with 10 kills on the night on 17 swings to go along with four block assists. Fellow senior middle blocker Trent Sorensen had nine kills on the night on 12 swings with one block solo, four block assists, and only one block error. As a team, BYU hit .312 on the night with 10.5 total team blocks to USC's .177 percentage and 6.0 team-block outing.
"I thought we did a great job against USC's fast offense," BYU head coach Shawn Patchell said. "Nothing really surprised us, but we have to suspect that USC will do an even better job against us tomorrow."
Although BYU won the first set 30-26, USC controlled the lead early in the set. It was not until senior Jonathan Charette jumped up to the service line with the Cougars down 13-15 that BYU was able to gain the advantage. The Cougars scored five consecutive points and kept the Trojans from regaining the lead again in the set. Charette started the run by bombing two huge serves that the Trojans over passed and Holmes was able to spike back to the floor. In total, BYU hit .294 to USC's .250, and each team recorded 2.0 total team blocks.
"Our offense was sputtering at first, and Jon [Charette] took it upon himself to get us back in the game," Patchell commented.
The second set was all Cougars as they won 30-24 on a Sorensen kill. BYU's lead reached seven points at 19-12 and did not drop below four points since that mark. Both the offense and the defense picked up for the home squad in the second set as BYU hit .455 and recorded 5.0 total team blocks in the set. Conversely, USC's performance dropped to a .200 hitting percentage with only one total team block in the set.
The Cougars continued to roll into the third set and completed the sweep with a 30-2 win. The biggest lead for BYU in the third set reached ten points at 22-12, but USC kept its fight alive and pulled back to with four at 27-23. Sorensen had four kills on four swings in the set to lead the team. The Cougars only hit .208 in the set, but they held the Trojans to a .045 attack percentage to maintain an advantage.
All five of BYU's seniors will be honored after Saturday's match for their contributions to the program. Doors will open at 5:30 p.m., and the match is slated to start at 7 p.m.