Volleyball Team Looks for Victory in San Diego

By Andrew Tashjian The Daily Universe

January 11, 2008

Provo, UT (UWIRE) -- Well-fit for a time of New Year's resolutions, the No. 1-ranked BYU men's volleyball team is united in its resolve to start 2008 off right with wins at UC San Diego this weekend.

Even though the Cougars haven't lost to the Tritons in the two teams' last 22 face-offs, 17 of which were complete sweeps, the team knows better than to underestimate its unranked opponent.

"They're much improved this season and we're definitely not looking past UC San Diego," BYU interim head coach Shawn Patchell said.

Despite the fact BYU is coming back strong from a 23-6 record in 2007 and a final ranking of No. 4, the team won't be at full firepower without All-American Ivan Perez who is playing with his national team this weekend in Puerto Rico. To compensate, the Cougars will have to depend on the skills of All-American Russell Holmes and other playmakers if they hope to thwart the attacks of teams bent on defeating the team at the top of the mountain.

"It's always tough to start on the road, and UCSD will be fired up to challenge the No. 1 team in the country," Patchell said.

The Cougars met the Tritons last year in Provo where they beat them in back-to-back exhibitions on April 6 and 7. Patchell will be assisted once again by former BYU setter Rob Nielson, who returns for his second year to help the Cougars on their road to success.

This weekend's matches will begin at 7 p.m. PST. and will, for the third season in a row, be available by live video feed through CSTV All-Access.

After this weekend's matches, the volleyball team will continue its road stint at No. 9 IPFW on Jan. 18 and at Lewis on Jan. 19. BYU's first home matches will be on Jan. 25 and 26 as the Cougars host Cal Baptist in the Smith Fieldhouse.

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