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BYU volleyball: No. 1 BYU plays at home Friday and Saturday

By Whitney Weekes

For the Deseret News

Published: Tuesday, March 5 2013 4:01 p.m. MST

Steve Rindfleisch, left, Russ Lavaja and Taylor Sander of BYU go up for a block against UC Irvine during NCAA volleyball in Provo, Friday, Jan. 18, 2013. At back right is Ben Patch of BYU.

Ravell Cal, Deseret News

PROVO, Utah — Coming off two road victories, the No. 1 BYU men’s volleyball team is back at home, welcoming No. 12 Cal Baptist to the Smith Fieldhouse on Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m. MST.

Cal Baptist is the only Mountain Pacific Sports Federation opponent BYU has yet to face this season. This is the Lancers first season in the conference.

The Cougars are back in the top-spot in the national AVCA poll after knocking off No. 1 UC Irvine. BYU topped the Anteaters 3-2, after trailing 0-2, and swept UC San Diego last weekend on the road. The Cougars also remain atop the MPSF standings as the No. 1 team.

Freshman Ben Patch is this week’s AVCA and MPSF Player of the Week for the second week in a row after recording an MPSF-high and BYU record 35 kills. Patch is the first player to ever earn consecutive AVCA Player of the Week honors.

Junior Taylor Sander leads the Cougars, who are riding a five-match win-streak, with 3.77 kills per set followed by Patch with 3.55.

BYU is ranked first in the MPSF in hitting percentage (.326), opponent hitting percentage (.242) and blocks (2.98).

Freshman Michael Hatch leads the conference in blocks per set with 1.47, while senior Russ Lavaja is fourth with an average of 1.35. Lavaja is No. 2 in hitting percentage with a .500 attack.

Cal Baptist

Cal Baptist is coming off a 3-0 sweep over UC San Diego that snapped a five-match losing streak. The Lancers host Pacific Wednesday before traveling to Provo.

Cal Baptist leads the conference in assists and kills, with 12.82 and 13.46 per set, respectively.

Levi Cabral holds the top spot in points in the MPSF with 4.93 per set. Cabral is also second in kills with a 4.23 average and is third in aces with .530 per set. Brett Anderson has the highest number of assists in the conference with an 11.87 average.

The Cougars captured the 2012 meeting between the two teams, 3-1. BYU also owns the overall record at 13-3.

Both matches will be broadcast live on BYUtv. Live stats will also be available for both matches through the BYU schedule page. Follow @BYUvolleyball on Twitter for team and match updates.

Whitney Weekes works in BYU Athletic Communications as the men's volleyball SID and football media relations assistant. She can be reached at mvolleyball_sid@byu.edu.

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