BYU beats Lewis 3-1 in semis to advance to NCAA championship game
COLUMBUS, Ohio — BYU men's volleyball defeated Lewis 3-1 (25-22, 25-15, 26-28, 25-20) in the NCAA semifinals Thursday night to advance to the national championship game Saturday against Hawaii.
The Cougars now head to their eighth national championship appearance, looking for their fourth national title. Head coach Shawn Olmstead will be making his third championship appearance as head coach after the victory over Lewis.
“We knew it was going to be a tough match,” Olmstead said, “but I just couldn't be more excited for the guys and proud of them. I’m happy.”
- Gabi Garcia Fernandez: 17 kills, .364 hitting percentage, two service aces, two blocks, seven digs
- Davide Gardini: 11 kills, two service aces, six digs, two blocks
- Zach Eschenberg: 11 kills, three service aces, two digs, two blocks
- Felipe de Brito Ferreira: six kills, .625 hitting percentage, six blocks
- Wil Stanley: 43 assists, eight digs, five blocks
See a recap of the semifinal victory with more quotes, highlights, statistics and more by scrolling the photo essay below.
No. 2 BYU to play NCAA Semifinal against Lewis
COLUMBUS, Ohio — No. 2 BYU will face Lewis in the semifinal match of the 2021 NCAA Men's Volleyball Tournament May 6 at 8 p.m. EDT. The Cougars and Flyers will meet for the first time this season to compete for a spot in the national championship game.
BYU leads 18-2
NCAA Tournament Appearances:
BYU - 10 (1999, 2001, 2003, 2004, 2013, 2014, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2021)
Lewis - 9 (1996, 1998, 2003, 2004, 2012, 2014, 2015, 2019, 2021)
BYU - 3 (1999, 2001, 2004)
Lewis - 1 (2003)
No. 2 BYU Cougars (19-3, 19-3 MPSF)
No. 4 Lewis Flyers (21-2, 21-2 MIVA)
BYU received a first round bye to the seven-team tournament and will begin play with this match. The Cougars have not competed in a game since winning the MPSF championship April 24.
“I actually kind of like this break,” said senior setter Wil Stanley. “We needed to work on some things, and this extra week gave us time to help me connect with my hitters and fine tune every little thing.”
BYU currently ranks second in the NCAA for hitting percentage (.348), third for blocks per set (2.784) and third in aces per set (1.76).
Individually, middle blocker Felipe de Brito Ferreira leads the MPSF in hitting percentage (.451) and blocks per set (1.25). De Brito Ferreira’s blocking ranks him fifth nationally. Gabi Garcia Fernandez ranks fifth in the nation for aces per set (.541), and is only four aces away from overtaking the BYU all-time career aces record, currently held by Taylor Sander.
The 2021 All-America lineup of Gabi Garcia Fernandez, Wil Stanley, Davide Gardini, Zach Eschenberg and Felipe de Brito Ferreira will face off against fellow All-Americans and Lewis playmakers Kyle Bugee, Kevin Kauling, TJ Murray, Ryan Coenen and Tyler Mitchem.
To earn their tournament bid, Lewis swept No. 10 Loyola Chicago in the MIVA championship on April 24. The Flyers swept No. 7 Penn State in the opening round of the NCAA tournament May 4 to advance to the semifinals.
As a team, the Flyers currently sit at No. 5 nationally in kills per set (13.10), No. 3 in hitting percentage (.345), No. 2 in blocks per set (2.892) and No. 4 in opponent hitting percentage (.204).
"We're going to continue to play our game," said BYU head coach Shawn Olmstead. "We're going to be properly aggressive. I'm confident in the guys. It's going to be two great teams with two great game plans. There's no doubt in my mind we're going to see great matches tomorrow."
Live Stream: https://www.ncaa.com/game/5830035
Follow the Cougars tournament experience: @byuvolleyball