My camera and I made the trek to Provo to capture some of the sights at BYU's playoff game versus USC. Here's what we caught.Two hours before the start of the BYU/USC playoff game, fans started lining up to get into the Smith Fieldhouse on campus in Provo. For men's volleyball games, there is a relatively high percentage of female attendees.
By 5 p.m., the television crew has already been micd up and at it for hours. A lot of their pre-game work has already been done.
The BYUtv truck is impressive, to say the least. They had enough preview screens on the wall here to monitor not only all the cameras at the Fieldhouse, but also all the off-campus Coke machines.
With an hour to go, players from both squads were out on the court stretching and warming up.
I love it when players have the opportunity to cross the net before the competition kicks in. It's cool to see friendships between different jerseys.
As the crowd filed in, a couple of seats were filled by a rather famous Wrubell family member with golden pipes. Not sure who the guy is with her, though. (Sorry, Greg. Couldn't resist.)
Also in the crowd was BYU volleyball's 34-weeks-along sports information director. If the team keeps advancing in the playoffs, Rachel Hawks will have no choice but to name a new baby boy Spike. This is dedication to the job.
As I snapped pictures of the crowd, the crowd, in turn, snapped pictures of themselves.
The announcer rattled through the starting lineups just before game time. For a school in Provo, just one BYU player is from Utah.
The ROC was rockin' as BYU took the floor.
While there are several returned missionaries on the squad, service to others means something a little different in volleyball. At one point in the match, BYU had three straight aces against the Trojans. Truly, USC got served.
Man, it cant be easy catching a rocket with your forearms, much less keeping it in-bounds. I stand all amazed at how that back line in volleyball continues to have use of their limbs.
Paying tribute to Canadian rock fans (and Greg Wrubell), the Cougars RUSHed out to a 21-12 lead in set one.
With BYU closing in on 25, the theme from Jaws blared over the speakers and the fans chomped in unison. USCs coaching staff was not as impressed as I was. Set one to BYU, 25-13.
During each time out on this Saturday night, at least a thousand fans pulled out their smartphones to continue preparing for their Sunday School lessons.
BYUtv's Steve Vail and Jarom Jordan talk shop during TV timeouts.
During set two, the heckling from BYU fans got a little out of control as I heard one fan taunt USC, "HEY, 23, YOUR MOMMA CANT BAKE A CASSEROLE."
The Fieldhouse actually lost power half way through the match, but the glow from these shoes allowed play to continue uninterrupted. Their deal with Nike continues to pay off in more ways than one.
Volleyball players have some serious hops. This is Josue Rivera just before sending a howitzer to the other side of the net.
Just after Riveras spike, play had to be halted for the BYU floor crew to pick up little pieces of USC forearms that had scattered on the floor.
Overheard in the USC huddle, "Their front line is killing us. Do any of you guys know a Mormon apostle here tonight that can call them all on a mission RIGHT NOW?"
BYU ended up pulling away and took set two, 25-18.
In the break between sets, some of the kids in the crowd were invited to the floor for a dance-off.
Some of the younger kids, though, wanted less dance and more off.
For a campus without caffeine, BYU fans get pretty amped up for their teams. The third set saw the Cougars slowly building another lead.
The fans smelled blood again, and went Jaws 2 as BYU closed in on match point.
USC was unsuccessful breaking through this wall, and fell in the third set, 25-17.
With the 3-0 victory, the No. 1 seed Cougars will continue to host the playoffs at the Smith Fieldhouse, where they haven't lost this year. Great fans and great play made for a great game.
Tim Johnson is the art director at KSL-TV in Salt Lake City. He and his wife, Alicia, are the proud parents of five daughters who, thankfully, look like their mother.
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