No. 6 Cougars drop second match to Penn State, 3-0
UNIVERSITY PARK, Penn. – The BYU men’s volleyball team posted another 3-0 loss against Penn State on Saturday in the Penn State Rec Hall (21-25, 19-25, 24-26).
The Nittany Lions swept the Cougars on Thursday as well. Both results put the all-time series record at 13-8, favoring the Cougars.
Penn State led offensively, racking up 34 kills and a .403 hitting percentage. BYU notched 32 kills and a .286 clip. Both teams had issues at the service line. The Cougars posted 21 service errors, followed by Penn State’s 18.
Senior opposite hitter Alex Ah Sue had a game-high 12 kills and a .588 clip. Penn State’s Brett Wildman followed with 10 kills.
"There were more positives for this team than what may show on the stat sheet and for that there was a lot to learn from this trip," said head coach Shawn Olmstead. "Down the stretch, we had a few too many errors that Penn State capitalized on. Alex had a strong night for us offensively."
Penn State started the match with a slight lead of 7-5 after giving BYU five points from service errors alone. Gardini tied the match at 7-7 with his two consecutive kills, BYU’s first kills of the set.
Six errors by the Cougars and three kills by Penn State allowed the Nittany Lions to maintain a lead at 15-11. Ah Sue tallied two kills to help close the gap, putting BYU behind by just one point at 20-19. Freshman outside hitter Luke Benson and Gardini slammed kills in the final moments of the set, but ultimately, Penn State took the set win with an ace at 25-21.
The teams traded points, tying four times by 4-4. The rally included a kill by Ah Sue. The Nittany Lions took the lead off a BYU service error at 5-4.
Penn State’s Cal Fisher managed two quick kills, but sophomore middle blocker Gavin Julien fought back with a kill of his own. A solo block by senior middle blocker Branden Oberender tied the set for the fifth time at 10-10. BYU continued with this momentum, taking back its lead after a Penn State attack error.
Battling back, Fisher put up three straight aces, giving the Nittany Lions a 14-11 lead. From here, the teams traded kills, including three by Ah Sue. Ultimately, final kills by Fisher and Brett Wildman sealed another set win for Penn State at 25-19.
BYU quickly tallied a 2-0 lead, thanks to Ah Sue’s eighth kill of the night. Penn State managed a kill before Gardini slammed his seventh. Two errors by the Cougars allowed the Nittany Lions to tie the match at 3-3. Kills by Ah Sue, Oberender and Benson gave BYU an edge, until a service error tied the match for the fourth time at 6-6.
The Cougars continued to tally points, however, issues on the service line allowed Penn State to stay close behind. Two block assists by Julien and Benson gave BYU its biggest lead of the night at 15-11.
The Nittany Lions took the lead at 19-18 after four kills and four BYU errors. Benson and Ah Sue continued to put up a fight, both adding kills. This lit a fire under Gardini, who served two aces, giving BYU a one-point lead at 22-21.
Five fatal errors by BYU secured Penn State’s sweep, with the Nittany Lions winning the set at 26-24.
Up next, BYU will host UC Irvine for its first home match of the season in the Smith Fieldhouse on Friday, Jan. 21 at 7 p.m. MDT.
BYU men's volleyball to face Penn State in season opener
PROVO, Utah — BYU men’s volleyball will open its 2022 season by facing Penn State in a two-match series starting Thursday, Jan. 6 at 7 p.m. EST in the Penn State Rec Hall.
On Dec. 20, the NVA/AVCA Coaches Poll ranked the Cougars No. 6 its pre-season rankings. Meanwhile, the Nittany Lions came in at No. 5.
In the all-time series between these two teams, BYU leads 13-6. On an eight-match winning streak, the Cougars last defeated the Nittany Lions in Jan. 2019.
Brigham Young University Cougars (0-0, 0-0 Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Conference)
- BYU finished the 2021 season with a 20-4 record, its eighth MPSF Conference championship title, a trip to the NCAA national championship game and a No. 2 national ranking
- This is head coach Shawn Olmstead’s seventh season
- The Cougars welcome back 11 returners and have added nine newcomers
- Off the Block recognized junior Davide Gardini as preseason First Team All-American
Penn State University (0-0, 0-0 Eastern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association)
- No. 1 ranking in the EIVA preseason coaches' poll
- Penn State returns its entire starting lineup and 17 total student-athletes from the 2021 roster, including All-Americans Cole Bogner, Cal Fisher and Brett Wildman and All-EIVA honorees Will Bantle and Sam Marsh
- Seniors Bogner, Fisher and Wildman were selected preseason First Team All-Americans by Off the Block
- The Nittany Lions finished the 2021 season with a 22-4 overall record and 16-2 conference record. Their season ended with a loss to Lewis University in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
BROADCAST INFORMATION – Jan. 6
BROADCAST INFORMATION – Jan. 8
For those wishing to attend, tickets for Rec Hall are free. Information can be found here. Masks are required.