Freshmen trio leads Cougars to a five-set comeback over Mount Olive
PROVO, Utah – Behind a career-high and BYU-season-high 23 kills from freshman Miks Ramanis and career-high 12 and 10 kills from freshmen Anthony Cherfan and Luke Benson, respectively, No. 8 BYU took a five-set win (24-26, 25-19, 25-20, 22-25, 15-12) over University of Mount Olive on Thursday night in the Smith Fieldhouse.
At the start of the match, with score tied at 10-10, BYU faced a match-altering roadblock. Senior outside hitter Davide Gardini landed awkwardly, resulting in a left ankle sprain. This ended his play for the match.
"After Davide's injury, we really understood that we needed to step up," Ramanis said. "We worked as a whole in the first set. All-around, we were committed to what we had to do. We didn't let it rattle us."
BYU notched its highest kill count, 62, and highest hitting percentage, .402, of the season. Meanwhile, UMO battled back with 48 kills and a .223 clip. Both teams struggled on the service line. The Cougars gave up 28 points due to service errors, followed by UMO’s 21.
At the top of the leaderboard, outside hitter Ramanis tallied his 23 kills with a .559 hitting percentage. Not only is this the highest kill count of any BYU player this season, but the first time a Cougar has tallied 23 kills since Gardini three seasons ago, on April 13, 2019 against Stanford.
Cherfan made his collegiate debut with his first career start. He tallied 12 kills on a .320 clip.
Sophomore setter Zeo Meyer had a double-double, contributing 52 assists and 16 digs.
The Cougars now hold a 3-0 record all-time over the Trojans. The victory brings BYU’s overall season record to 3-2.
The set started with quick points and ties. At 9-7, Ramanis attempted to close the gap with his fourth kill of the set. A service error by UMO set the Cougars off on a 3-0 run to tie the match at 10-10. An ace by the Trojans and BYU’s fourth service error allowed UMO to take back the lead at 13-10.
Kills by both Ramanis and sophomore middle blocker Gavin Julien, accompanied by UMO’s fourth service error, tied the match at 15-15. Thanks to another two kills by Ramanis, BYU widened the gap to 19-17. Ramanis nearly matched his career-high tally of nine kills in this set alone.
From there, the teams traded points, tying at 24-24. Two BYU attack errors later and the Trojans secured the first set-win at 26-24.
Ramanis started the second set with a service ace to put BYU on the board. Both teams tacked on kills, including one by Cherfan. This would set the teams off on a tying spree.
BYU broke away at 9-7 after Cherfan’s fifth kill. Three UMO errors later, the Cougars held a four-point lead at 12-8. At 14-11, Ramanis smashed his tenth kill, celebrating a new career-high.
This set the Cougars off, racking up four combined kills from Benson, Meyer and senior middle blocker Branden Oberender. At match point, Cherfan came up with a crowdpleasing pancake dig, helping BYU win its first set-win at 25-19.
Ramanis and Cherfan continued their momentum, both tallying kills to put BYU ahead 4-1. Three errors by the Cougars allowed the Trojans to catch up at 6-5. Two consecutive kills by UMO tied the set at 7-7. This turned into a 4-0 run for the Trojans, taking the lead at 9-7.
Cherfan managed an ace, followed by two Ramanis kills. This duo contributed to BYU taking back its lead at 13-11. A kill by UMO’s Luke Visgitis traded the lead once again at 15-14.
Kills by Cherfan, Ramanis and Oberender propelled BYU ahead to 22-18. An opportune ace by Meyer gave BYU its second set-win at 25-20.
The set started off with BYU’s 20th service error of the night, giving UMO the upper hand. However, three combined kills by Benson and Ramanis tied the match at 4-4. The Cougars took their first lead of the set off a block by freshman middle blocker Teon Taylor and Ramanis.
BYU’s fourth service error in the set evened the score again at 8-8. Ramanis tallied his 17th kill before adding another service error for the Cougars. Benson, Julien and Cherfan followed up with kills of their own, giving BYU a slight edge at 13-12.
Three service errors later and UMO held a 16-14 lead. Ramanis’s momentum continued as he notched his 19th and 20th kills. Even with BYU’s .583 clip, the Trojans never lost their lead, tying the match with a 25-22 win.
OMU’s Tobi Azeez slammed a quick kill, paired with BYU errors, to put the Trojans ahead 4-0 and forcing a BYU timeout. Senior opposite hitter Alex Ah Sue came off the bench, adding two kills. Julien followed up with a block and kill. This set off Ramanis with another kill and block. BYU made a comeback, tying the score at 7-7. The score tied four more times.
The Cougars managed a three-point lead after two UMO attack errors and a kill by junior serving specialist Jon Stanley. One final error and BYU secured a 3-2 win at 15-12.
Up next, BYU and UMO will face each other again on Saturday, Jan. 29 at 7 p.m. MDT in the Smith Fieldhouse.
No. 8 Cougars to host Mount Olive in home series
PROVO, Utah — No. 8 BYU men’s volleyball will welcome the Trojans of the University of Mount Olive for a pair of matches, starting Thursday, Jan. 27 at 7 p.m. in the Smith Fieldhouse.
The Cougars hold a 2-0 all-time record against the Trojans, winning a two-match series back in 2020.
No. 8 Brigham Young University Cougars (2-2, 0-0 Mountain Pacific Sports Federation)
- Last weekend, BYU notched its first victories (3-2, 3-0) of the season against UC Irvine
- Seniors Davide Gardini and Alex Ah Sue led the team offensively against the Anteaters, combining for 57 kills
- The Cougars 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 Gardini as preseason First Team All-American
University of Mount Olive Trojans (2-0, 0-0 Conference Carolinas)
- The University of Mount Olive entered the season ranked No. 1 in the Conference Carolinas preseason poll
- Last weekend, the Trojans notched two wins against George Mason University (3-2) and Queens University of Charlotte (3-1). Senior Tobi Azeez put up 37 total kills in the two matches.
- Azeez (2021 Offensive Player of the Year, 1st Team All-Conference, & ACVA All-American), senior Luke Visgitis (2021 First Team All-Conference), and senior Eric Visgitis, (2021 Second Team All-Conference, 2021 Conference Carolinas All-Tournament Team) were all named UMO men's volleyball players to watch
- During the 2021 season, UMO men's volleyball went 13-4 overall. The Trojans went onto fall in 2021 Conference Carolinas Championship 3-1 to the Crusaders of Belmont Abbey.
BROADCAST INFORMATION – Jan. 27
BROADCAST INFORMATION – Jan. 29
Consistent with current BYU requirements, all in attendance will need to provide proof of vaccination or proof of a negative COVID test upon entry. Masks will also be required, regardless of vaccination status. Find more details at byu.edu/coronavirus.