Caleb Turner | Posted: 4 Feb 2019 | Updated: 8 Nov 2020

No. 7 BYU begins conference play at No. 5 Pepperdine and No. 4 UCLA

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PROVO, Utah — No. 7 BYU men’s volleyball begins conference play in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation this week with matches on the road at No. 5 Pepperdine on Wednesday and No. 4 UCLA on Saturday.

Week Five Match Notes

No. 7 BYU (4-2, 0-0 MPSF)

  • The Cougars are coming off of back-to-back losses at No. 6 UC Santa Barbara (9-3), their first losses of the season after starting the year 4-0.

  • Sophomore opposite hitter Gabi Garcia Fernandez continued his impressive play with two 13-kill matches, giving him his fourth and fifth matches in double figures this season. He leads the MPSF in kills per set with a 4.58 average, and his .360 hitting percentage ranks sixth.

  • Freshman outside hitter Davide Gardini showed off the defensive side of his game with a five-dig, five-block performance against the Gauchos on Friday, Feb. 1. He is tied with Garcia Fernandez for first on the team in total digs and second in total blocks this season. The two hitters both rank in the top three in the MPSF in service aces.

  • BYU enters conference play as reigning MPSF champions, having beaten UCLA in the championship match last spring. The Cougars were picked to finish second this season behind the Bruins.

No. 5 Pepperdine (6-2, 0-0 MPSF)

  • The Waves are coming off a win at home against No. 12 CSUN (6-5) and a loss at No. 3 UC Irvine (11-2).

  • The Cougars have the advantage in service aces and blocks per set this season, with 1.8-1.3 and 2.4-1.9 leads in the two categories, respectively.

  • Pepperdine owns the all-time series 32-31, but BYU won the last four meetings in a row, including three at Firestone Fieldhouse in Malibu.

  • The Waves are led by two senior outside hitters in David Wieczorek and Michael Wexter. Wieczorek leads the team in kills per set with a 3.85 average on a .325 hitting percentage and ranks in the top three in the MPSF in both kills and aces. Wexter is first on the team in digs (tied for second in the MPSF) with 2.21 per set and second on the team in blocks with .61 per set.

No. 4 UCLA (8-2, 0-0 MPSF)

  • The Bruins are on a three-match win streak, with wins most recently at No. 8 Loyola Chicago (7-3) and No. 10 Lewis (7-4).

  • BYU leads UCLA in both major defensive categories, with a 7.9-7.8 advantage in digs per set and a 2.4-1.8 advantage in blocks per set.

  • The Cougars have the advantage in the all-time series, 35-33, including a win last year in the MPSF conference championship match. UCLA won the last matchup between the two teams, however, in the NCAA Championship semifinals last May. 

  • The Bruins swept the MPSF Player of the Week awards this week, with junior middle blocker Daenan Gyimah winning offensive and senior setter Micah Ma’a winning defensive. Gyimah leads the conference in hitting percentage with a .550 clip and Ma’a leads the conference in service aces with .71 per set.

Links to live streaming and stats can be found on the men’s volleyball schedule page.