HONOLULU -- Brigham Young coach Tom Peterson couldn't
exactly explain how his team rallied to win its third NCAA men's
volleyball title in six seasons.
The top-seeded Cougars (29-4) overcame three championship points
to beat Long Beach State 15-30, 30-18, 20-30, 32-30, 19-17 on
Saturday night in a rematch of the 1999 championship won by BYU.
"I don't know how we won," Peterson said. "The bottom line is
we just had the heart to come back whenever we needed to. That's
why I don't have any hair right now."
After 49ers hitter Scott Touzinsky hit into the antenna, the
Cougars spilled onto the court to celebrate, holding up the NCAA
trophy. Long Beach State's players just stared in shock.
Joe Hillman had 14 kills for BYU, and Jonathan Alleman and
Fernando Pessoa each added 13 kills and combined for 15 digs.
"We wouldn't let this championship slip away. It's been a great
year," Pessoa said. "Oh my gosh, it's so beautiful.
"BYU doesn't give up. That's the story of our whole season."
Cougars setter Carlos Moreno had 51 assists and was selected the
tournament's most outstanding player.
Touzinsky had a match-high 17 kills. He added five aces and
Long Beach State went on a 7-4 run, capped by a double block by
Touzinsky and Duncan Budinger to give the 49ers a 10-6 lead in the
final game. But the Cougars battled back, with Alleman breaking a
17-all tie with a crosscourt spike.
Touzinsky's error gave BYU the win.
"I avoided the block which I've never done before," he said.
"I saw an opening down the line, and I went for it."
BYU, winners of 28 of its last 29 matches, played in its fourth
championship in five years. The Cougars won NCAA titles in 1999 and
They advanced to the finals by winning a rematch of last year's
title match, beating defending champion Lewis in three games.
"Last year was a really tough loss. It's not every day in life
you get a second chance, and I wasn't going to let it happen
again," Moreno said. "I was 100 percent sure we were going to win
Second-seeded Long Beach State advanced by defeating No. 3 Penn
State in the other NCAA semifinal.
It was the fourth meeting this season between the two schools,
which play in the dominant Mountain Pacific Sports Federation. BYU
won all three previous matches, including a four-game victory May 1
in the MPSF finals.
But this loss stung the most.
"It's the ultimate disappointment; you can't get any closer to
it and not win," 49ers coach Alan Knipe said. "You can't make it
any more difficult."
The 49ers dominated the opening game, forcing the Cougars into
several hitting errors. BYU had trouble handling Touzinsky's sharp
jump serves. He had four aces in the first game, including three
during a 7-0 run that made it 19-3.
The Cougars quickly regained their composure and evened it up in
Game 2, building a double-digit lead behind Pessoa's six kills. BYU
had a 16-8 advantage before Long Beach State was able to score
There were 14 ties and two lead changes in the fourth game
before Alleman's solo block pushed the match into a fifth game.
"They get the points when they want it," Knipe said. "They
play the game like it should be played."
The 49ers, who finished 28-7, made their sixth championship
appearance and first since 1999, when they were swept in three
games by BYU.