No. 5 BYU sweeps No. 7 Ohio State in home opener
PROVO, Utah – A strong offensive performance led the No. 5 BYU men’s volleyball team to a sweep of No. 7 Ohio State (25-20, 25-23, 27-25) in its home opener on Thursday.
"Starting off the season this way against a program like Ohio State was really good," BYU head coach Shawn Olmstead said. "There is a lot of energy and a great vibe right now coming off the women's season and the fans have been phenomenal. I really feel like we've got a great volleyball community – we've kind of built that into this volleyball school. We can't thank the fans enough for coming out on a Thursday night at the home opener to welcome these boys back onto the court."
Sophomore Gabi Garcia Fernandez contributed 15 kills, six digs, two aces and two blocks, while freshman Davide Gardini followed with 13 kills, four digs, one ace and one block. Setter Wil Stanley added 30 assists and libero Zach Hendrickson notched six digs. The team averaged a .325 hitting percentage as well.
The Cougars took a strong lead in the first set, going on a 4-0 run with back-to-back kills by Gardini to go up 8-4. BYU maintained at least a three-point lead throughout the middle of the set, racking up kills by Fernandez and Cyrus Fa’alogo. A kill by Fernandez, followed by a triple block by Gardini, Fernandez and Miki Jauhiainen propelled the Cougars to their first set victory of the season, 25-20.
Ohio State claimed the first lead of set two off of a kill. The Cougars quickly regained the advantage, however, and notched another kill by Fa’alogo to lead 5-2. Fernandez claimed the second Cougar ace of the match increasing the lead to 9-7. The teams traded points back and forth until Fernandez took another ace followed by back-to-back Cougar kills to go up 20-17. Ohio State came within one point but BYU maintained the lead and took the set 25-23.
Tied at 2-2, swings by Fernandez, Felipe De Brito Ferreira and Gardini led to four kills for the Cougars, giving them a slim 6-5 edge. The Buckeyes took a three-point lead, 14-11, that they maintained until back-to-back kills and an ace by Gardini gave BYU the advantage, 18-17. Ohio State battled for the set, but a kill by Gardini sealed both the set and the match for the Cougars, 27-25.
The Cougars return to the court next when they play the Ball State Cardinals on Saturday Jan. 12 at 7 p.m in the Smith Fieldhouse. The game will be live broadcast on theW.tv and live stats can be found on the men’s volleyball schedule page.