Men’s volleyball prepares for BYU after upset victory

first_imgKatie Chin | Daily TrojanSet up for success · Junior Gert Lisha sets the ball to teammate sophomore Matt Douglas. The team will take on BYU on Friday.After an upset victory over UCI last week, the men’s volleyball team will have to find that same perseverance, strength and even more in order to defeat nationally ranked No. 3 BYU on Friday. Having No. 6 UCI beat BYU earlier this season, though, the Trojans are focusing less on their ranking and more on how they can win.“It is the transitive property of competition, if you will,” head coach Jeff Nygaard said. “Irvine beat BYU, we play BYU, but we beat Irvine. It is not inconceivable that we go compete. What we learned from [last] week is that we can go toe-to-toe with a pretty tall, physical, jumping team and that we can just keep on competing.”The competition will be fierce, as part of the Cougars’ main strength is in their experienced and consistent players. Senior outside hitter Jake Langlois and junior opposite Ben Patch have been putting up the numbers for BYU in both kills and blocks all season long. With these two players leading the way in both the attack and the defense, they will be difficult to beat.“The more mature you are,” Nygaard said, “the more experience you have, the more comfortable you are in your own skin and the more comfortable you are with whatever is thrown your way.”USC has experienced players of their own to compete with BYU’s, though, like national kills leader and senior outside hitter Lucas Yoder. His consistency in making plays from one of the two outsider hitter positions on the court has been proven game after game. If Yoder continues at his standard of play and the rest of the team steps up, the game will be theirs for the taking..“If they pass great, the advantage is definitely on their side of the net simply by virtue that they have a strong attacker in every position,” Nygaard said. “If we can consistently put them in trouble and then be really disciplined on our side and take care of every single ball that we have an opportunity for and then try to transition score at a high rate, we have good opportunities.”With a full week of practice with no other games, the Trojans have had the time to study BYU in depth, which is not always possible with the way the schedule works out. They understand,  though, that what they have been doing for some games might not work against BYU, and they are not shying away from developing new things to take this team on.“If you go in expecting that all your old patterns will be successful and you go in and do your patterns and they are not successful, you have a choice,” Nygaard said. “You can grow and learn and develop something new or keep doing the same thing. If you watch film and develop other opportunities for yourself, you can have a lot of success.”No matter what preparation goes into a game, the game itself can throw unexpected challenges, and it is up to the teams to let those challenges rule them or to rise to conquer them. It could just come down to who wants it more and who is willing to persevere until the end. If that is the case, USC is ready to put in the effort for a victory.“We are going to have to work hard and earn it,” Nygaard said. “But there has been a lot of people that have gone up and done some good things against that team.”The Trojans will take on the Cougars on Friday at the Galen Center at 7 p.m.last_img

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