March 9, 2007
Santa Barbara, Calif. - It was a showdown between the top-two offensive squads in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation and No. 3 BYU came out on top, defeating No. 4 UC Santa Barbara in three games Friday in men's volleyball action at Robertson Gymnasium. Scores of the match went 36-34, 30-23, and 30-26.
With the loss, UCSB dropped to 14-7 overall and 10-6 in the MPSF, while BYU improved to 14-4 overall and 10-3 in league play. The Cougars entered the match in third place in the MPSF, followed by the Gauchos in fourth.
UCSB has now lost its last four conference tilts. BYU, which started the season 9-0, has won five matches in a row, all of them league contests. The Cougars have won the past three match-ups between the two schools.
Entering tonight, UCSB led the MPSF in attack percentage at .360 and was followed closely by BYU at .355. However, the Gauchos struggled offensively, hitting .277 to the Cougars' .395.
Game one was close until BYU opened up a four-point lead at 22-18. UCSB then rattled off five straight points on kills from Bryan Berman and Michael Fisher, a Theo Brunner/Fisher block, and a pair of BYU errors to take a 23-22 advantage. The Cougars went ahead again, but wasted three consecutive game points as UCSB managed to tie it at 29-29. Both squads traded several sideouts before two kills from Yosleyder Cala gave the game to BYU.
In the second game, Santa Barbara hit just .107 with nine kills and six errors in 28 swings. Brigham Young, which had no blocks in the opening game, totaled five in game two as Rodnei Santos put back four Gaucho attempts in the frame. The Cougars jumped out to an early 3-0 lead and continued to push their edge to as much as eight points. The Gauchos would get no closer than five points for the rest of the game. Santos, Russell Holmes, and Ivan Perez all recorded four kills apiece in the game.
UCSB out-hit BYU in game three, .400 to .385, but an early 8-3 Cougar edge proved to be insurmountable for the Gauchos.
Santa Barbara got a match-co-high 12 kills out of Brunner, who hit .647 for the match. Berman followed with 10 kills and a team-high four digs. He and David Kennedy each posted four blocks. Starting setter Bart Kowalski had 25 assists, while Max Klineman, who came in to the match in relief of Kowalski multiple times, had 17.
For BYU, both Cala, who was named this week's AVCA National Player of the Week, and Robby Stowell, the MPSF Player of the Week, racked up 12 kills. Stowell and Perez each had seven digs, while Santos tallied six blocks. Setter Yamil Perez ended up with 47 helpers.
The two teams meet again Saturday at 7 p.m.