No. 7 BYU loses opening match of conference play to No. 5 Pepperdine
MALIBU, Calif. — No. 7 BYU men’s volleyball lost the opening match of MPSF conference play against No. 5 Pepperdine in three sets (25-17, 25-19, 25-18) at the Firestone Fieldhouse on Wednesday.
"Pepperdine put good service pressure on us and we couldn’t find a way to slow that down," BYU head coach Shawn Olmstead said. "We allowed them to get in a good rhythm. Our offense became too predictable with our passing which made it a long night for our attackers."
Gabi Garcia Fernandez led the Cougars with 13 kills on a .333 hitting percentage, while Wil Stanley added 26 assists and Felipe de Brito Ferreira had four blocks.
A quick 5-1 start by the Waves brought on a timeout from the Cougars. The first service ace of the match extended the Pepperdine lead to 10-3, and the second just minutes later gave the Waves a 12-5 lead. A pair of blocks by Ferreira brought BYU within four, 18-14, causing the Waves to call their first timeout.
The Cougars were unable to close the gap any further, however, and a pair of kills won the set for the Waves, 25-17. Pepperdine led in kills and aces, 14-9 and 4-1, after one set, but BYU had the advantage in total blocks, 4.5-3.
The Waves once again led early in the second set with a 10-6 lead. The Cougars were able to bring it within one, 14-13, before the Waves pulled away once again to a 20-15 lead. A block gave Pepperdine the second-set victory, 25-19.
The Waves were up to 30 kills and seven aces by the start of the third set as they jumped out to a 7-2 lead. Garcia Fernandez reached double-digit kills in the third set for the third-straight match with 10, keeping the Cougars within striking distance, 12-7.
David Wieczorek had back-to-back aces to put Pepperdine up by eight, 16-8, and give the Waves 11 aces on the night. Another ace from Wieczorek gave him five on the night and extended the Pepperdine lead to double digits, 19-9. BYU was able to score nine more points in the third set, but the Waves maintained their lead, eventually winning the set, 25-18, and the three-set sweep.
BYU falls to 4-3 overall on the season and 0-1 in conference play, while Pepperdine improves to 7-2 overall and 1-0 in conference play. The Cougars will stay in California to take on No. 4 UCLA Saturday at 7 p.m. PST at the John Wooden Center. Live stats and streaming links can be found on the schedule page.
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