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No. 3 BYU drops first match to No. 9 UCSB
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. — No. 3 BYU men’s volleyball lost its first match of the season Friday, falling in three sets (25-22, 25-22, 25-20) to No. 9 UC Santa Barbara at Robertson Gymnasium.
“It was an uncharacteristic match from us in a lot of ways,” BYU head coach Shawn Olmstead said. “We made a lot of errors in all areas that took the wind out of us. We will have another chance tomorrow that we need to be prepared for.”
Gabi Garcia Fernandez led the Cougars with 13 kills, while Davide Gardini contributed a solid all-around stat line with two aces, five digs and five blocks in the loss.
The first set remained close early, but UCSB pulled away to a 17-14 lead thanks to four service aces. BYU rallied to tie the set up at 19-all thanks to kills from Garcia Fernandez and Gardini. BYU took a brief lead, 20-19, but a pair of errors allowed UCSB to gain momentum and take a 23-20 advantage. The Gauchos went on to win the first set, 25-22. Gardini had two kills, one ace, two digs and three block assists in the opening set.
Following another close start to the second set, UCSB got out to a 17-15 lead, thanks to a couple more aces and several service errors from the Cougars. Despite three quick kills from Garcia Fernandez, the Gauchos became the first team to win consecutive sets against the Cougars this year with a 25-22 win in the second set. The Gauchos held a 23-16 advantage in kills after two sets.
Garcia Fernandez reached double-digit kills early in the third set, but the Gauchos once again established themselves with a 21-15 lead fueled by three-straight aces from Ryan Wilcox. Miki Jauhiainen then followed that up with three aces of his own to bring the Cougars within three, 23-20. UCSB’s Corey Chavers got his 17th kill of the night soon after, however, followed by a block to seal the three-set victory for the Gauchos, 25-20.
BYU gets another shot at the Gauchos on Saturday at 7 p.m. PST at Robertson Gymnasium. Links for live stats and streaming can be found on the schedule page.
No. 3 BYU travels to California to take on No. 9 UCSB
PROVO, Utah — No. 3 BYU men’s volleyball travels to California this week for back-to-back matches against No. 9 UC Santa Barbara Friday, Feb. 1 and Saturday, Feb. 2 at Robertson Gymnasium.
No. 3 BYU (4-0)
The Cougars are coming off of a bye week after two road victories in Pennsylvania over Penn State (3-2) and Saint Francis (3-0) the week before.
BYU currently sits in first place in the MPSF conference standings with a perfect 4-0 record. The team ranks second in the conference in hitting percentage, opponent hitting percentage and blocks.
Sophomore opposite hitter Gabi Garcia Fernandez had a career-high 27 kills in a five-set thriller over Penn State on Jan. 18, and leads the MPSF in kills and points.
Freshman outside hitter Davide Gardini had a career-high four service aces in the Cougars’ sweep over Saint Francis on Jan. 19, and sits in second place in the MPSF in aces with .50 per set.
No. 9 UC Santa Barbara (7-3)
The Gauchos are currently riding a four-match win streak with victories over three ranked teams in No. 7 Loyola Chicago, No. 10 Lewis and No. 11 Ball State.
UCSB is averaging 11.88 kills per set on a .317 hitting percentage, led by senior outside hitter Corey Chavers, who is averaging 3.52 kills per set at a .342 clip.
Freshman middle blocker Brandon Hicks leads the team in total blocks with 29 and is averaging 1.16 blocks per set over his 25 sets played.
BYU leads the all-time series against UCSB 42-22, and the Cougars have won eight of the last 10 meetings.
Links for live stats and streaming can be found on the men's volleyball schedule page.