Earlier this season, BYU men's volleyball coach Chris McGown, talking after a victory, said the Cougars had plenty of work ahead of them if they wanted to put themselves in a position to win a national championship.
Since then, BYU has steadily improved and now, after seven consecutive weeks at No. 1, is poised to reach the NCAA Tournament.
It begins Saturday when the Cougars (22-4, 21-3 MPSF) host No. 8-ranked Hawaii (11-16, 10-14) in the quarterfinals of the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Tournament on Saturday at 7 p.m. in the Smith Fieldhouse.
The Cougars wrapped up the conference championship three weeks ago, the earliest a team has ever won the MPSF title.
BYU will continue to host as long as it wins.
The tournament champion receives an automatic berth to the NCAA Final Four. The MPSF also receives an at-large place in the NCAA Tournament.
Junior outside hitter Taylor Sander was named the MPSF Player of the Year and freshman opposite Ben Patch was named MPSF Freshman of the Year. Senior middle blocker Russ Lavaja was also named to the All-MPSF first team.
Senior setter Ryan Boyce earned All-MPSF second-team honors, and sophomore outside hitter Josue Rivera received an All-MPSF honorable mention. Along with Patch, freshman middle blocker Michael Hatch was named to the All-MPSF freshman team.
BYU, which leads the MPSF with a .326 hitting percentage, swept both matches with Hawaii this season, dropping only one set.
Hawaii at BYU
O Mountain Pacific Sports Federation quarterfinals
• Saturday, 7 p.m.