No. 8 BYU sweeps Concordia in first match back home
PROVO, Utah – No. 8 BYU men’s volleyball swept Concordia (32-30, 25-18, 25-13) Thursday in the Smith Fieldhouse in its first match back home after six consecutive matches on the road.
"I"m happy for the guys – they needed this," BYU head coach Shawn Olmstead said. "It was a tough little road stretch, and for them to be able to come in here and put that behind them was really important. We all believed we could be better and we definitely saw improvement in the areas we wanted to focus on tonight."
Gabi Garcia Fernandez totaled 14 kills, giving him his fifth consecutive match in double digits, and contributed three of the Cougars’ five service aces, while Davide Gardini tied Garcia Fernandez for a team-high 14 kills and added five digs as well. Setter Wil Stanley had 41 assists and five digs and Felipe de Brito Ferreira notched eight kills at a .600 hitting percentage. The team reached new season highs in hitting percentage and kills in a three-set match with .463 clip and 50 total kills.
The Eagles (5-9, 1-1 MPSF) got off to a hot start in the first set, using three quick kills to give them a 5-1 advantage over the Cougars (5-4, 1-2 MPSF). Kills by Andrew Lincoln and Gardini aided BYU in taking its first lead of the set, 12-11. The teams traded points back and forth throughout the remainder of the game until back-to-back Gardini kills sealed the set for BYU, 32-30.
The second set began with the Cougars and Eagles trading points back and forth once again. Garcia Fernandez then notched his 10th kill of the set, giving BYU a two-point lead, 8-6, while de Brito Ferreira propelled the Cougars into double digits off a kill, 10-7. BYU then went on a 4-0 run, with kills by Miki Jauhiainen, Garcia Fernandez and Gardini to put them up 15-10. Gardini’s 10th and 11th kills, as well as an ace, propelled the Cougars to a 20-14 lead. BYU then finished the set, 25-18, on a Garcia Fernandez kill.
Three kills in a row led to an immediate 3-0 lead for the Cougars in the third set. Despite its attempt to reduce the point discrepancy, Concordia fell behind as BYU continued to notch kills and aces, putting them up 15-6. A triple block by Gardini, Jauhiainen and Garcia Fernandez led to BYU’s first 13-point lead, 23-10. Coming off the bench, Zach Eschenberg and Branden Oberender claimed the last two points, giving the Cougars the set and match win, 25-13.
The Cougars remain at home to take on No. 14 USC on Saturday, Feb. 23 at 7:00 p.m. MST. The match will be broadcast on BYUtv and live stats will be available on the men’s volleyball schedule page.