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PROVO, Utah (April 6, 2007) -- With 17 kills Ivan Perez led the No. 3 Cougars (19-5, 15-4 MPSF) over the UCSD Tritons (5-20, 2-18 MPSF) and clinched homecourt for the first round of the MPSF playoffs.
The win came in front of 1,854 fans at the Smith Fieldhouse and improves BYU's home record to 10-1 and overall record with UCSD to 21-0.
The Cougars began game one down 1-2 and then went on a 6-0 run capped by an Ivan Perez kill forcing UCSD to take an early timeout. Freshman Ryan Oates made his BYU debut as the first Cougar coming off the bench and helping BYU increase its lead 26-13.
Cougar coaches then subbed Russell Holmes back in to have all the starters on the court to put the Tritons away 30-17 in game one. Senior Scott Cox led the Cougars with six kills and three digs.
In game two BYU struggled to find any sort of rhythm early on until the game was tied up at 9-9. BYU then went on a 3-0 run forcing UCSD to take a timeout to calm the Cougar offense down. The Tritons then went on a 5-3 run and got within one of the BYU lead. UCSD battled with the Cougars down the stretch and took a one-point 27-26 advantage and forced BYU to take its first timeout. It was the Tritons first lead since they had a 1-0 lead at the beginning of the game two.
UCSD served an ace out of the timeout to take a 28-26 advantage. The Cougars found themselves down 27-29 at game point but quickly tied the game at 29. The Tritons finally put BYU away 32-30 in game two to tie the match at one game a piece.
"After a 30-17 blowout it's hard to keep a competitive edge," co-head coach Shawn Patchell said. "UC San Diego played with a lot of emotion. We need to match their emotion."
Jason Spangler and Will Ehram led UCSD in game two with five kills a piece while Cox had four more kills to bring his two-game total to 10.
Game three began with both teams battling back and forth with neither one of them taking control. Perez had a crowd-screaming kill to lift the Cougars to a 7-4 advantage but the Tritons rallied back to tie the game 8-8. BYU finally found its rhythm when Robby Stowell came off the bench and immediately collected a kill that started a 4-0 run to give the Cougars an 18-14 advantage.
BYU thought they had something going until UCSD tied the game at 21 and forced BYU to take a timeout. Perez then energized his team and as he pounded the ball right down the middle of the Titan defense to give the Cougars a 27-24 lead. With the game at 29-25 in favor of BYU, the Cougars gave the ball to Stowell to put UCSD away and give BYU a 30-25 game-three win.
Andrew Stewart began game four serving and got the Cougars out in front with an early 7-0 lead. With BYU taking command the closest the Tritons ever got to the Cougars was within three. The Cougars finished game four on a 4-0 run to take the game 30-23.
BYU will face UCSD Saturday night in the final match of the series. The game will be at 7 p.m. in the Smith Fieldhouse.