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LONG BEACH, Calif., (Apr. 24, 2008) - The championship match of the 2008 Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Tournament will feature No. 3 BYU and No. 5 Pepperdine after the Cougars swept No. 3 Cal State Northridge and the Waves swept No. 2 Long Beach State Thursday at the Walter Pyramid.
BYU's record improved to 25-4 on the year, and CSUN fell to 23-7. Senior All-MPSF First Team selection Ivan Perez led all hitters with 16 kills and a .345 attack percentage. Fellow senior All-MPSF First Team honoree Russell Holmes led all blockers with seven total blocks including one block solo.
"I was proud of my guys," BYU head coach Shawn Patchell said. "We've been focusing on starting well. These guys executed our game plan, and our All-Americans played like All-American tonight."
Patchell's crew jumped out to a 5-1 lead capped by a service ace from Perez and never lost the lead on the way to a 30-22 victory in the first set. In fact, CSUN got no closer than within four points in the rest of the set. Holmes earned the final point of the set on his fourth kills of the set, and led all blockers with three. Perez led all attackers with six kills on nine swings, lifting the Cougars to a .393 attack percentage compared to the Matadors' .000 (six kills and six errors on 23 swings) performance.
The Cougars earned another 5-1 advantage to start the second set and again held the lead to a 30-28 win. CSUN pressured BYU and was within one point four times in the set, the last time at 26-25, but did not tie or take the lead. Holmes apparently enjoyed serving back in his home state as evidenced by his back-to-back aces for the 16th and 17th points of the set. He finished with three on the night. The Cougars were out-hit in the set .424 to .231, but racked up three service aces to the Matadors' 12 service errors.
Sophomore Andrew Stewart sealed the 30-26 victory in the set and completed the sweep on his fourth block of the night. CSUN tied the set at 15-15, but never led. The Cougars stepped up their offense and hit .455 to the Matadors' .222 percentage in the deciding set.
The championship match will be held Saturday at 7 p.m. in the Walter Pyramid. BYU will look to beat Pepperdine for the third time this season after downing the Waves twice in Provo earlier this season.