Cougars Abuse the Bruins

In front of a packed house and a national television audience, the second ranked BYU men's volleyball team soundly defeated defending national champion UCLA. The match could not have gone much better for the Cougars, who combined lethal hitting, strong defense, and a solid block to make short work of the third ranked Bruins.

The Cougars made quite a statement in the opening match of conference play. The team looked absolutely unstoppable in a three-game sweep of UCLA. There were only a handful of tense moments during the match as BYU dominated play most of the night.

The match saw the return of 6-foot-8 outside hitter extraordinaire Yosleyder Cala and the debut of 6-foot-6 freshman middle blocker Rodnei Santos of Brazil. Cala led the team in kills with 15 and in hitting percentage at .789. Santos hit a respectable .364 and led the team with four assisted blocks.

Team captain Russell Holmes also hit a blistering .786 from his middle blocker position and outside hitter Ivan Perez bombed away all night, racking up 11 thunderous kills on .500 hitting. Freshman sensation Robbie Stowell still has the hot hand, hitting .385 for the match.

Time and time again the Cougars were able to come up with timely side outs and amazing saves to put together rallies that sucked the wind right out of the Bruins' sails. BYU had an incredible .500 hitting percentage as a team for the match. The Cougs hit .643 and .636 in games two and three respectively.

The match was the hot ticket on campus. More than 5,500 extremely vocal fans turned out for the event. Among those in attendance were Cougar football recruits and their BYU player hosts, who filled an entire row of seats. Recognizable among the group was Southridge quarterback Jason Munns, Vista Murrieta linebacker Tyler Beck, defensive end David Angilau, two-way lineman Eathyn Manumaleuna, Jordan receiver/defensive back Scotty Ebert, Canyon running back J.J. DiLuigi, Elk Grove cornerback Brannon Brooks, Bingham defensive end Star Lotulelei, and Chino Hills utility man Steven Thomas. Offensive lineman Manaaki Vaitai, defensive lineman Christian Tupou, and tight end Devin Mahina were also there.

One player of note in attendance was recently returned missionary Matt Putnam. It did not appear from afar that two years in the Texas McAllen mission took much toll on Putnam's 6-foot-7 frame. will check in with the recruits after they return home.

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