PROVO, Utah — No. 2 BYU men’s volleyball cruised to a straight-set win over USC (25-22, 25-18, 25-16) Thursday night at the Smith Fieldhouse.
“Every match we get an opportunity to compete in helps us work better together as a team," said BYU head coach Shawn Olmstead. "I really like what we're doing from the service line. Our servers are managing the game well. We're seeing a lot of good things come from that which allows our block and our defense to get in good spots."
Davide Gardini paced the Cougars (15-2, 14-2) with a team-high 11 kills, hitting at a .769 clip while also adding four blocks on the match. Gabi Garcia Fernandez and Zach Eschenberg backed Gardini with nine kills apiece, while Miki Jauhiainen contributed five.
Eschenberg added a career-high-tying four aces, three of which came in the first set.
As a team, BYU recorded a .443 hitting percentage on 37 kills while holding the Trojans (5-9, 5-9) to a .203 clip. The Cougars notched 10.5 blocks to USC’s 3.5 en route to securing their 10th consecutive win.
- Davide Gardini: 11 kills, .769 hitting percentage, four blocks, one dig
- Zach Eschenberg: Nine kills, four aces, two blocks, one dig
- Gabi Garcia Fernandez: Nine kills, three blocks, one ace
- Miki Jauhiainen: Five kills, three blocks
After the Trojans took an early 2-0 lead, BYU fought back with kills by Garcia Fernandez, Jauhiainen and Gardini to tie the game at four. With the Cougars leading 9-8 later in the set, a flurry of kills by Garcia Fernandez, Gardini, Eschenberg and de Brito Ferreira put BYU up 15-11 and forced a USC timeout. Eschenberg tallied three aces in four rallies to put the Cougars up 20-14 before a Gardini kill gave BYU the 25-22 set win.
Both teams traded points early, as a Gardini kill and a block by Wil Stanley, Jauhiainen and Gardini knotted the game at four. A Wil Stanley ace then capped a 5-0 Cougar run, putting BYU up 9-4. The Cougars maintained control throughout, as kills by de Brito Ferreira and Garcia Fernandez gave the Cougars a 17-11 lead. Back-to-back aces from Teilon-Jonathan Tufuga and another by Eschenberg sealed the 25-18 set win for BYU.
The Cougars went up 6-4 following a de Brito Ferreira and Eschenberg block and a kill by de Brito Ferreira. BYU extended its lead to five, 13-8, after kills by Gardini and Eschenberg capped a 4-0 Cougar run. Back-to-back kills by Gardini and Garcia Fernandez put BYU up 20-14 later in the set. Fueled by kills from Gardini, Jauhiainen and Garcia Fernandez, the Cougars closed the set on a 5-0 run, winning 25-16.
BYU will be back in the Smith Fieldhouse Friday, April 2, for another match against USC in the Cougars’ final home match of the regular season. BYU will recognize its seniors before the match, which will start at 7 p.m. and will be broadcast on byutv.org and the BYUtv App.