Garcia Fernandez, Gardini power BYU past Pepperdine 3-0
PROVO, Utah – Double-digit kills from Gabi Garcia Fernandez and Davide Gardini powered BYU men's volleyball past Pepperdine 3-0 on Friday night at the Smith Fieldhouse.
The Cougars defeated Pepperdine in set one with a rare score of 25-6; one of the largest margins of victory in a set by BYU in the rally-scoring era.
"We keep ourselves focused on the task right now. At the end of the day, it's just us playing our own game and being focused," said Gabi Garcia Fernandez. "In that first set that's what happened. We just played our game."
Garcia Fernandez led the team in kills with 15 on a .833 clip while adding four digs. Gardini immediately followed with 13 kills and two assists with three kills. Felipe De Britto Ferreira tallied two service aces on the night while adding five kills and four total blocks.
BYU made swift work of the Waves quickly taking the first set 25-6. The Cougars capitalized on Pepperdine’s errors and showed their power with 11 kills. With an impressive early lead of 16-3, BYU held Pepperdine off with eight straight points and two attack errors from the Waves closed out the first game 25-6.
The Waves found their rhythm in set two as the two teams traded points. The Cougars managed to string together three-point streaks for a slight advantage. A kill from Zach Eschenberg tied the match up at 23-all and the Cougars took the win on two Pepperdine errors, 25-23.
Pepperdine came out early in set three, taking a 2-0 lead early. But BYU fought back and the two teams tied the score a 7-all. The two teams traded points before Pepperdine took the edge at 24-23. But, a service error from the Waves tied the game at 24-all. Pepperdine again took the lead with a kill but it was quickly answered by a kill from Garcia Fernandez to tie it up this time at 26-26. But, BYU closed the match with back-to-back kills from Garcia Fernandez and Gardini to secure the sweep.
The Cougars return Saturday, Feb. 13 for their second match against Pepperdine in the Smith Fieldhouse. The game is slated for 7 p.m. MST and will be broadcast on BYUtv.
No. 1 BYU to Host No. 7 Pepperdine in Two-Match Series
PROVO, Utah – The No. 1 BYU men's volleyball team is set to host the No. 7 Pepperdine Waves Friday, Feb. 12, and Saturday, Feb. 13, at 7 p.m. MST in the Smith Fieldhouse.
BYU (1-1) will welcome Pepperdine (2-0) to Provo for a pair of matches this weekend. Both games will be broadcast on BYUtv and available on the BYUtv App.
The Waves lead the overall series 34-32. BYU is 11-25 when playing in Malibu but the Cougars own the series at home 21-9. The last time these two teams faced off was Feb. 8, 2020, in the Smith Fieldhouse. That BYU victory marked Coach Olmstead's 100th win with the program.
BYU is currently 1-1 after splitting with UCLA at home. Despite the lone loss, the Cougars remain the No. 1 team in the country after this week’s NVA/ AVCA Division I coaches poll. For the first time this season, first-place votes were tied 8-8 between BYU and the University of Hawai'i. UH has not played any matches yet this season.
Senior opposite hitter Gabi Garcia Fernandez is coming off of a career week, taking home two player of the week awards; MPSF Offensive Player of the Week and AVCA DI Player of the Week. These are BYU’s first awards for the 2021 season.
The Cougars currently sit at number four in MPSF conference rankings. Pepperdine leads, followed by UCLA, Grand Canyon then BYU. This year, MPSF rankings are determined by win percentage as each team will only be playing in-conference opponents during the regular season.