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No. 8 USC sweeps No. 10 BYU in California
LOS ANGELES, Calif. — No. 10 BYU men’s volleyball lost in three sets (25-20, 25-22, 25-21) to No. 8 USC on Saturday at the Galen Center.
Gabi Garcia Fernandez led the Cougars with nine kills, just the second time this season he has been held to single digits. Davide Gardini and Felipe de Brito Ferreira each had two blocks, while Brody Earnest contributed 32 assists and Zach Hendrickson tied for a match-high eight digs.
BYU (12-10, 6-5 MPSF) went down 8-5 in the first set before it came back to tie it at 8 on Garcia Fernandez’s third kill. The Trojans (15-8, 6-4 MPSF) continued to attack, however and took a 14-10 lead to force BYU’s first timeout. USC extended its lead to five, 19-14, soon after to bring about another timeout from the Cougars. An ace from Alex Ah Sue brought the Cougars within four, 24-20, but the Trojans got a kill immediately after to win the first set, 25-20.
The Trojans jumped out to a 6-2 lead in the set two on a pair of errors from the Cougars. Back-to-back kills from USC extended the lead 9-4, leading to the first timeout of the set from BYU. USC went up by eight, 19-11, before BYU was able to bring it back within four, 22-18, on a kill from Ah Sue to force the Trojans’ first timeout. An ace from Gardini and a kill by de Brito Ferreira brought the Cougars within two, 24-22 before USC took set two on a kill from Ryan Moss on the following rally.
Zach Eschenberg got his first ace early in the third set to tie it up at 8. The Cougars took a brief lead, 14-13, on a Trojan error before once again falling behind, 15-14. A USC service error put BYU back in front, 18-17, but a block from the Trojans gave them a 21-19 lead soon after. USC was able to extend its lead to three, 23-20, on Jack Wyett’s 10th kill of the night, and took the set and match soon after, 25-21.
BYU will play its final match of the regular season next against Grand Canyon on Apr. 4 at 7 p.m. MDT in Phoenix. Live streaming and stats can be found on the schedule page.
No. 10 BYU resumes MPSF play on the road
PROVO, Utah — No. 10 BYU men’s volleyball resumes MPSF play on the road this week against Concordia Irvine on Thursday and No. 8 USC on Saturday.
No. 10 BYU (12-8, 6-3 MPSF)
The Cougars are coming off of a seven-match home stand, four of which they won, including a five-set thriller over Princeton last Thursday as part of the BYU Invite.
BYU recorded 14 blocks as a team against Princeton last week, marking the fourth time this season the team has recorded 12-or-more blocks. The Cougars are undefeated when totaling 12-or-more blocks and currently lead the MPSF in blocks per set with a 2.54 average, good for fifth in the nation.
Gabi Garcia Fernandez extended his double-digit kill streak to 15 matches with 12 against Hawai’i, and came through clutch for the Cougars against Princeton two days before that, with seven of his 22 total kills coming in the decisive fifth set. He also matched his career high with five aces against No. 2 Hawai’i on Saturday to move into seventh place on the all-time list at BYU for career service aces.
Felipe de Brito Ferreira followed up his career-high 13 blocks last week against Pepperdine with 10 against Princeton on Thursday.
Freshman outside hitter Alex Ah Sue made his first start as a Cougar against McKendree last week and tied Garcia Fernandez for the most kills made by a freshman in his first start with 23 in four sets. His career night came on a .364 hitting percentage, while also adding six digs on the defensive end for a new career high.
Concordia Irvine (12-15, 1-7 MPSF)
The Eagles were swept by Grand Canyon in their lone MPSF matchup last week, before picking up two wins over Ottawa Arizona and Benedictine Mesa on Saturday. They play No. 1 Hawai'i at home on Tuesday before welcoming the Cougars to CU Arena.
BYU leads the all-time series 3-1 over CUI, with the lone loss coming last season in a five-set stunner in Provo.
The Eagles rank third in the MPSF in blocks, service aces and digs. CUI libero Addison Enriques leads in the conference in digs individually with 2.10 per set.
The Eagles lead the Cougars in kills per set and assists per set with 11.8-11.5 and 11.1-10.9 advantages, respectively, but BYU holds the lead in blocks per set, 2.6-2.0.
No. 8 USC (13-8, 4-4 MPSF)
The Trojans played just one match last week, handing No. 1, undefeated Long Beach State its first loss of the season in a sweep.
The Cougars beat the Trojans in a five-set match in Provo on Feb. 16 to extend their win streak to seven in the all-time series, which BYU leads 41-13.
USC ranks fourth in the MPSF in hitting percentage, assists, kills and digs. Outside hitter Ryan Moss ranks second in the conference behind Garcia Fernandez in kills per set with 3.83, while setter Chris Hall comes in third in assists per set with a 9.92 average.
The Trojans best the Cougars in the offensive categories with 12.8-11.5 and .321-.301 leads in kills per set and hitting percentage, respectively, while BYU holds the lead on defense once again with 2.6 blocks per set to 1.9 for USC.
Both matches begin at 7 p.m. PDT. Information on live streaming and stats can be found on the schedule page.