Jordan Christiansen | Posted: 23 Feb 2019 | Updated: 24 Dec 2020

No. 9 Cougars bring down Lopes in four sets

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PROVO, Utah – A furious comeback by the No. 9 BYU men’s volleyball team in set four resulted in a 3-1 (25-16, 21-25, 25-18, 26-24) win for the Cougars over Grand Canyon in the Smith Fieldhouse on Saturday.

BYU vs. GCU Final Box Score

Looking to close out the match up 2-1, the Cougars fell behind early in the fourth set, falling behind by as many as eight points at 15-7. But BYU scored the next three points on a kill by Storm Fa’agata-Tufuga and two attack errors by the Lopes to cut into the lead.

Grand Canyon maintained its lead, eventually coming within two points of winning the set at 23-19. But BYU turned on its offense, recording consecutive kills from Gabi Garcia Fernandez, Davide Gardini and Miki Jauhiainen and two more Lope attack errors to go on a timely 5-0 run and set up match point at 24-23.

Grand Canyon would answer to tie the set at 24-24, but a kill by Garcia Fernandez and a block from Gardini and Jauhiainen sealed the win for BYU.

“It was a really good learning experience for our guys to be put in that position at home," BYU head coach Shawn Olmstead said. "Give all the credit in the world to Grand Canyon for coming into this environment and competing and staying in the match. Storm did a great job coming off the bench for us and providing a spark. A major part of this win tonight was the crowd and the environment here. We want to thank Cougar Nation always for representing and supporting our guys, being loud and crazy and making this a great place to play."

Garcia Fernandez led all players with 20 kills and nine digs as BYU improved to 7-4 on the year. Wil Stanley added 36 assists and Jauhiainen totaled a career-high nine blocks and six kills.

In set one, the two teams stayed close until a quick 5-1 spurt gave the Cougars some breathing room at 17-11. The two teams again traded points until BYU scored the final four points of the set, including a culminating kill by Andrew Lincoln, to give BYU the 25-16 win.

Grand Canyon answered back from the start in set two, quickly taking a 10-5 lead before stretching it out to 21-12. Four kills by Garcia Fernandez helped BYU claw back to within four at 23-19, but a final Lope kill gave Grand Canyon the set, 25-21.

A pair of blocks in the third set and a kill by Stanley gave BYU a 17-12 lead. The Cougars kept Grand Canyon at bay from there, finishing the set 25-18 after a service error and an attack error by the Lopes as part of a night that saw BYU hold Grand Canyon to an .035 team hitting percentage for the match. The Cougars set a new season high with 13.5 total blocks as a team. 

BYU will next face Stanford at home in the Fieldhouse on Thursday, Feb. 28, at 7 p.m. MT. The match will be shown live on BYUtv.

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