BYU Volleyball at USC

The number three ranked Cougars returned to southern California last weekend to play the Trojans of USC. The trip started and ended well. On the previous trip SoCal, the team had to wait five hours on the plane in Salt Lake City due to faulty aircraft brakes. Unlike that Cal Baptist match, BYU actually got to eat prior to the match Friday night in Los Angeles.

On Saturday night, like Friday night, the Cougs came out swinging. They trading points, then and trailed by two before they tied the score at eight. It was at this point that they started pulling away, causing USC to call time out seven minutes into the first game. Seven minutes later, with the score 18 to 13, the Trojans again called time out to regroup and cool down the hot Cougars. Nothing mattered; kills and several service aces were taking their toll on USC. At times, several long volleys excited the crowd. Freshman libero Joel Silva had at least one of the two successful pancakes in this first of three games. Yosleyder Cala was leading BYU with hot kills. Ivan Perez also dished out several of his patented blazing kills. Team captain Russell Holmes played magnificently. He blocked and had three kills of his own. Game one ended after twenty-three minutes, with the score 30-22 for the Cougs

During game two, when BYU was leading 9-5, Cala had one of his kills blocked. He was determined to immediately swing back with an instant replay to get the point and kill off an unblocked second attempt. The Trojans were again forced to burn a time out when BYU was leading 13-6. Three minutes later with the score 16-7, they used up their final time out of game two. In this game, Robby Stowell, freshman opposite hitter, scored at will. Russell Holmes was serving much better and had several blocks and kills of his own. Cala and Perez were getting digs and passing the ball to the setters unbelievably well throughout the night. Jousting at the net was exciting in conjunction with the long volleys. Cala was doing in SC with his unblocked kills and torrid serving. Freshman Yamil Perez was setting the ball well for the hitters. The score for game two was 30-22.

At the beginning of the final game of the night, Cala had a great low dig. Cala followed up a few minutes later with another of his low at the floor digs allowing Yamil Perez to set the ball back to Cala for another kill. The only thing Cala didn't do was set up his own kills.

Again, Russell Holmes was serving well, and his placement on the court was precise for effective blocks. One of his kills homed in on the face of a Trojan player. USC played this game tougher, but was still forced to use their time outs quickly.

With the Cougars leading at 20-16, one of the USC players, Matt Patlovich illegally reached over BYU's side of the net to spike the ball just as Yamil Perez was setting the ball. The crowd gasped as Yamil was holding his hand in pain. The game was momentarily stopped to let Perez recover. Four plays later, setter Brian Congelliere was sent in to substitute for Yamil who was still in pain. The game ended 30-25 giving BYU a sweep for the night.

Robby Stowell was playing hot. He was enjoying himself and pleasing the BYU fans with his kills. For the night, he had 17 kills trailing Yosleyder Cala's 19. Ivan Perez followed up with 9. Even freshman Joel Silva played very well, he had four digs for the short time he participated. He said he was very happy with his action.

After the match, Cala said he was excited with his play. He stated, "I only missed one; it was very exciting" Actually, he missed two kills, but still hit .905 for the match.

Yamil Perez's right thumb and middle finger were swollen, but he was still very happy with the sweep of the Trojans. Yamil always has a smile on his face.

Scott Cox's father, Randy made his second trip down to California from Idaho to watch the game. He commented that he has not seen the Cougars play that well in a long time. Randy like many of the players' families travel well to support the team. Mark and Tammy Holmes, Brian Congelliere's parents, Charla and Joel, and Robby Stowell's parents and grandparents and others are always seen and supportive.

This weekend, the BYU will return to California, this time to play in Santa Barbara. They will have to play near perfectly to beat the fourth ranked Gauchos. At USC, the Cougars hit at a .571 percentage.

This is a very young and emotional team. They perform well together and their desire shows. There will be ups and downs throughout the season. The big question is, can they do it again?

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