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Cougar Nation: BYU volleyball: Cougars set for 1st home match this season with No. 1 ranking

Published: Thursday, July 2 2015 5:49 p.m. MDT

Robb Stowell as the BYU Men's Volleyball Team practice at the Smith Fieldhouse in Provo on  Wednesday, April 20, 2011.  (Mike Terry, Deseret News) Robb Stowell as the BYU Men's Volleyball Team practice at the Smith Fieldhouse in Provo on Wednesday, April 20, 2011. (Mike Terry, Deseret News)

PROVO — The BYU men's volleyball team is a big deal down in Provo most years. Fans regularly sell out the Smith Fieldhouse — providing a raucous venue for opposing teams.

Tonight they play their home-opener against fifth-ranked USC before squaring off against them again on Saturday night with attendance likely to be standing-room only.

BYU will come into the match with a lot of momentum having knocked off then No. 1-ranked UC-Irvine on consecutive nights. That No. 1 rank now belongs to the 4-1 Cougars and they'll work to prove worthy of that ranking starting tonight against the 3-0 Trojans.

The Cougars are led by 6-4 sophomore Taylor Sander, who leads the team with 94 kills. It's a team that features a lot of good experience from a season ago including Sander, 6-7 senior Robb Stowell (50 kills) and 6-7 junior Russ Lavaja (28 kills) along with some exciting new freshmen such as the 6-3 Josue Rivera (46 kills).

The Cougars reached the national quarterfinals a year ago before being knocked out by UC-Santa Barbara. With a lot of the leading players returning from a year ago along and with their early No. 1 national ranking, the Cougars are looking to win their first national championship since 2004.

COUGARS ON THE AIR

No. 5 USC (3-0) at No. 1 BYU (4-1)

Tonight, 7 p.m. MT

Smith Fieldhouse

TV: BYUtv

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