PROVO — The ultimate goal of the BYU men's volleyball team is to win a national championship, but winning an MPSF title would make for a nice intermediate prize.
The Cougars have a chance to win themselves both the MPSF regular-season and postseason titles Saturday night against Long Beach State. The game will be held at Smith Fieldhouse at 7 p.m. with the Cougars completely focused on the task at hand.
BYU wrapped up the regular season April 5 after beating then No. 7-ranked UC Santa Barbara.
With a bid to the NCAA Final Four seemingly secure, one could assume the Cougars are looking beyond Saturday's conference title tilt. Such an assumption would be faulty.
"I think it is really important to us to win this conference tournament championship no matter if we are already going to get an at-large bid to the Final Four," freshman star Ben Patch said. "I think it shows we don’t take things lightly, and we are not taking this tournament lightly."
The Cougars advanced to the MPSF conference finals following their thrilling five-set comeback win against UCLA. Long Beach upset No. 2 seed UC-Irvine to secure its spot in the finals.
"Long Beach is a really, really good team," said BYU coach Chris McGown. "We're not in any way taking them lightly. We're going to have to come back with a good game plan and guys are going to have to work hard and try and figure out — in short order — what Long Beach is going to try and do."
Long Beach State will likely have to win the MPSF tournament to extend its season.
The NCAA Final Four will be hosted by UCLA, but the Bruins are not likely to participate because of their loss to BYU on Thursday. That potentially could open it up for the rest of the field, which wouldn't have to worry about playing a team that had home-court advantage.
The NCAA Final Four will take place at Pauley Pavilion in Westwood, Calif., from May 2-4.