Karina Amos | Posted: 28 Jan 2021 | Updated: 9 Feb 2021

2021 Season Preview

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PROVO, Utah - The BYU men’s volleyball team enters 2021 after a shortened-yet-successful 2020 season, boasting a 17-1 record (6-0 MPSF) and No. 1 national ranking before the season shut down due to the effects of COVID-19.

The 2020 MPSF Coach of the Year, Shawn Olmstead, returns for his sixth season as head coach of the Cougars and will welcome back 14 returners and seven newcomers.

The NVA/AVCA Coaches Poll ranked BYU as its pre-season No. 1 on Jan. 5.

“We are just thrilled to get back to volleyball and competition," Olmstead said. "We’ve enjoyed the training opportunities we had in the offseason and are excited about what’s ahead for this group. We have a nice mix of veterans and young guys who have meshed well in the practices we’ve had.”

Top Returners 

Gabi Garcia Fernandez, the 2020 AVCA National Player of the Year and MPSF Player of the Year, is expected to lead the team once again. The senior opposite hitter led the NCAA last season in points per set (5.56) and aces per set (.918). AVCA All-Americans Davide Gardini (outside hitter) and Wil Stanley (setter) will be back on the court along with All-American Honorable Mention Zach Eschenberg (outside hitter). The offense run by Stanley at setter, ranked second in the NCAA with a .358 hitting percentage.

All-MPSF honorees Felipe de Brito Ferreira and Miki Jauhiainen will return to the middle blocker position. De Brito Ferreira and Jauhiainen were key players for the Cougars, in helping the team lead the nation in blocks per set last season. The return of libero Mitchell Worthington will round out all of the 2020 starters coming back for the upcoming season. 

Alex Ah Sue (opposite hitter), Brandon Oberender (middle blocker), Jon Stanley (serving specialist/outside hitter) and Teilon Tufuga (outside hitter) add depth and experience to the roster and are expected to continue to contribute.  


In July, Olmstead announced the incoming recruiting class set to join this year’s squad. Freshmen Anthony Cherefan (opposite hitter), David Hawkins (outside hitter), Ian Little (opposite hitter), Zeo Meyer (setter), Jack Palmer (outside hitter), Miks Ramanis (outside hitter) and Teon Taylor (outside hitter) have all been added to the 2021 roster. 


Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, seniors in the class of 2020 were given the option to return for a final year of eligibility. All 2020 seniors have returned, with the exception of Andrew Lincoln (outside hitter). Kanani Akana (outside hitter), Maxwell Pothier (middle blocker), and Gavin Heap (setter) are also no longer with the team.

BYU will open the 2021 season in Provo, Feb. 4 and 6 against No. 9 UCLA. The 2021 schedule includes only MPSF conference opponents. The full BYU men's volleyball schedule is posted and available.

At this time, only families of players and coaches will be permitted to attend games in the Smith Fieldhouse.