BYU men's volleyball: No. 1 Cougars host fifth-ranked USC this weekend

By Whitney Jordan

For the Deseret News

Published: Wednesday, Jan. 18 2012 1:43 p.m. MST

The No. 1-ranked BYU men's volleyball team plays this Friday and Saturday in the Smith Fieldhouse against USC.

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PROVO — After playing five matches on the road, the No. 1 BYU men's volleyball team will finally play its first home matches of the 2012 season on Friday and Saturday against No. 5 USC at 7 p.m. both nights.

The Cougars and Trojans clash in Provo with identical conference records and rankings opposite to what they were last season. When the two teams met in 2011, it was USC with the No. 1 ranking and it was USC that took the weekend sweep.

Sophomore All-American Taylor Sander leads the Cougars outright with 94 kills and 12 aces. Sander is contributing stats in almost every category, and was recently named conference and National player of the week. Four other Cougars join him in double-figure kills so far this season while Russ Lavaja is leading in blocks with 31.

BYU is coming off, most recently, two wins at then-No. 1 UC Irvine where the Cougars came away with 3-0 and 3-2 final match scores.

Meanwhile, five Trojans have already recorded double-figure kills, led by Tony Ciarellie with 32. Robert Feathers leads the team in total blocks with 20 and Micah Christenson has 114 assists in the books. USC most recently defeated No. 11 Cal State Northridge at home in three sets.

BYUtv will be broadcasting Friday’s match live on national television with play-by-play from Jarom Jordan and color commentary from Steve Vail. Fans can watch Friday's broadcast for free online at BYU.org.

Fans call also follow @BYUvolleyball on Twitter.

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