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(PROVO, Utah) - The No. 3 BYU men's volleyball team (23-4, 18-4) enters the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Tournament as the No. 2 seed this Saturday at the Smith Fieldhouse and will host No. 8 UC Irvine (16-14, 11-11), the No. 7 seed, with the start time set for 7 p.m.
The Cougars beat the Anteaters twice in Irvine, Calif., earlier this season, once in five sets and then in four the following match. The 28-26 victory in the fifth set on February 15 was the longest fifth set in MPSF history. The Cougars are also 14-3 against the Anteaters since 2001, but only 3-4 against them since the end of the 2005 season. BYU swept UCI in three games in Provo in 2007, but lost in five sets the following night. The two teams met again in the second round of the MPSF Tournament when the Anteaters got the better end of another five-set encounter. UCI then went on to win the conference title and the NCAA Championship.
UC Irvine entered the MPSF playoffs as the No. 7 seed and beat the No. 8 seeded USC in five sets in a play-in match Wednesday night in Irvine, Calif., to earn the trip to Provo to face the Cougars. The Anteaters have won four of their last five matches, highlighted by a four-set victory over Cal State Northridge. The defending National Champions are led offensively by Jon Stellar who averaged 3.77 kills per set in conference play this season with a .314 attack percentage. Aaron Harrell leads the Anteater defense at the net with 109 total blocks in conference play.
Since 1993, BYU has qualified for the MPSF postseason tournament in 13 of 14 seasons including 12 consecutive trips. The Cougars all-time record in the MPSF tournament is 17-11. BYU has won the MPSF tournament three times and holds an 9-5 record in the first round, 4-5 record in the semifinals and a perfect 3-0 record in tournament finals. The Cougars won consecutive MPSF tournament championships in 2003 and 2004.
Tickets for the match are available at the door and at the BYU Ticket Office. Ticket prices are as follows. Student All-Sport Passes will not be accepted.
Courtside: $20 Reserved: $12 General Admission - Adult: $10 General Admission - Student: $5