Trojans finish season on the road at BYU

first_imgThe men’s volleyball team (7-17, 5-15 MPSF) will conclude their regular season this Friday and Saturday as they head to Utah to face No. 1 BYU (21-3, 17-3 MPSF), which is coming off two wins over then-No. 1 UCLA on the road last Friday and Saturday.The Trojans are coming off of a split weekend at home. Last Friday night, USC swept UC San Diego (25-20, 25-17, 25-13) but lost to No. 15 UC Irvine in straight sets (21-25, 15-25, 23-25).Junior outside hitter Lucas Yoder led the Trojans with 17 kills on the weekend. Senior middle blocker Josh Kirchner was second on the team with 13 kills.Going to BYU is always unpredictable for the Trojans. When the two schools meet, just like with USC and Hawaii, the teams play back-to-back matches.“[Traveling is] a learning experience for the younger guys,” head coach Jeff Nygaard said. “It’s a great chance to educate them on what it takes to go on that trip and play in that environment.”Playing at BYU is a challenge all of its own. Provo, Utah is just above 4,500 feet in elevation. Los Angeles is just over 200 feet in elevation. The difference in elevation alone is a difficult adjustment for teams to make, not to mention the fact that BYU is a mecca for men’s volleyball.“It’s hostile in that it’s an extremely favorable BYU crowd,” Nygaard said.“Favorable” would be an understatement. In their 10 home matches this season, BYU has averaged about 4,000 fans in attendance. In USC’s 13 home matches this season, they’ve averaged about 400 fans.BYU has a home record of 8-2 this season. Their losses were courtesy of No. 3 Stanford in mid-January and No. 6 Pepperdine in mid-March. USC has an opposite away record of 2-8. They’ve struggled this season, but especially on the road.Despite the daunting conditions, Nygaard isn’t afraid of the challenge ahead of the Trojans.“I would expect them to win,” Nygaard said. “I don’t see any reason otherwise.”Nygaard, a former UCLA men’s volleyball standout, has experience playing in BYU and knows what it’s like to head into that “hostile environment.”“I think it’s a great environment for volleyball,” Nygaard said. “I love going there and I love competing there.”As the season is drawing to a close, Nygaard shared his belief that all of the ups and downs of the season will help transition the team for next year.“Everything we’ve done this year is helping us transition for next year,” Nygaard said. “Regardless of what happens, it’s always going to transition to the next year.”The adversities of this season will aid the Trojans in becoming a more weathered, toughened team. Pair that with a longer time under Nygaard’s direction and plan, and the Trojans look to come out firing for next season.But before they can move on to any of that, they’ll have to take on the Cougars.last_img

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