MEN'S VOLLEYBALL: The No. 4 BYU men's volleyball team (12-7, 8-6 MPSF) returns home this weekend to host No. 7 USC (10-7, 8-6 MPSF) for a two-match series on Friday and Saturday nights. Both teams are involved in a three-way tie for fifth place in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation standings, along with No. 5 Hawai'i.
The Cougars came away as the only undefeated team at the Long Beach State Active Ankle Tournament, posting wins over No. 9 Penn State and St. Francis (Pa.). BYU is led by AVCA National Player of the Week Andrew Stewart, who is averging 3.92 kills per set so far this season.
Stewart combined for 35 kills on the weekend, extending his double-digit kill streak to 15 matches and totaling 1,023 career kills.
The Trojans are coming off a series split with Hawai'i on March 8 and 9. They are led by Murphy Troy, who averages 4.43 kills per set. USC last visited Provo in May when BYU hosted the 2009 NCAA National Championships. Bill Ferguson's team suffered a 3-2 loss to UC Irvine in the final match.
The Cougars recorded 14 consecutive wins over the Trojans before dropping two matches in 2009. Previous to last season, the last time USC topped BYU was in February of 2001 on the Trojans' home floor.
Overall, the Cougars lead the series 24-9 and 13-4 in Provo. The last time BYU lost to USC at home was in January of 1996.
Stewart, a senior outside hitter, was named the Sports Imports AVCA Division I-II Men's National Player of the Week after leading his team to its two wins in the Long Beach State Active Ankle Tournament last weekend.
In BYU's first outing, a 3-1 win over then-No. 9 Penn State, Stewart turned in a double-double, smashing 20 kills to ago along with 16 digs, three blocks and one assist. One day later, in the Cougars' four-set victory over St. Francis, Stewart produced 15 kills, three digs, three blocks and one assist.
For the week, Stewart averaged 4.38 kills, 2.38 digs and 4.75 points per game, while hitting at a .382 clip. With his 20 kills against PSU, Stewart reached the 1,000 career kills mark, totaling 1,023 by the conclusion of the weekend. He also has recorded double-digit kills in each of the last 15 matches, extending a career record.
This is the 19th time a BYU player has garnered Sports Imports AVCA Men's Division I-II Player of the Week accolades, the last athlete to do so being Futi Tavana on March 23, 2009.