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No. 2 BYU to host No. 1 UCLA spikers

The undefeated Cougars take on defending champs

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PROVO — It's a regular-season contest, but tonight's BYU-UCLA men's volleyball matchup has a championship flavor.

The top-ranked Bruins (10-3, 5-1) invade the Smith Fieldhouse at 7 to take on the No. 2 Cougars (8-0, 4-0). BYU sits atop the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation's Mountain Division, ahead of second-place UCLA.

While the Cougars are the lone unbeaten team in country, the Bruins have won six straight matches and are the defending NCAA champs.

BYU hosts No. 12 Cal-Irvine (3-8, 1-5) Saturday night.

"This will be a very important weekend for us," said Cougar coach Carl McGown. "At this point, we have yet to face a team like UCLA, so this will give us a good idea of where we are. We're a little banged up and haven't had the benefit of practicing with a full team this week, so I suspect we'll need to play at a pretty high level in order to beat UCLA."

"This will be our toughest match of the season," said Bruin coach Al Scates. "They have (All-America setter) Hector Lebron back from their championship season and they are a great offensive team. They are a tough team to beat at home."

Since 1998, the Cougars own a 46-3 record at the Smith Fieldhouse. BYU is 3-9 all-time against UCLA at home.

E-MAIL: jeffc@desnews.com