Karina Amos | Posted: 4 Mar 2021 | Updated: 8 Mar 2021

Cougars show team strength in 3-0 sweep at Concordia Irvine

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Jon Stanley smiles with teammates

IRVINE, Calif. — The No. 2 BYU Cougars swept Concordia Irvine (25-20, 25-19, 25-19) Thursday night on the road. The sweep is BYU’s second in a row, both on the road. 

“I’m proud of the way the guys battled tonight as a team,” said BYU head coach Shawn Olmstead. 

As a team, BYU held CUI to a .198 hitting percentage, with 12 Concordia hitting errors and 12 BYU blocks contributing to that. The Cougars hit their way to .375 (49-10-104) and had five team aces. 

Outside hitter Zach Eschenberg matched his career-high 16 kills on a .469 clip with only one error.

“I thought Wil made a handful of good decisions in certain situations that opened things up for both Esch (Eschenberg) and Davide (Gardini),” Olmstead said. “Esch has been working hard with his range, and we saw a lot of improvement tonight.”

KEY PLAYERS

  • Zach Eschenberg: 16 kills, one error, .469 hitting percentage, one ace, five digs
  • Davide Gardini: 12 kills, .450 hitting percentage, 12 digs, one block
  • Gabi Garcia Fernandez: 13 kills, .250 hitting percentage, two aces, five blocks
  • Miki Jauhiainen: two kills, one ace, four blocks
  • Wil Stanley: 39 assists, two kills

SET ONE

The Cougars and Eagles began the match trading kills and aces. BYU’s first ace by Garcia Fernandez (BYU 4-3 CUI) was met by a Concordia kill and subsequent ace which moved CUI on top (BYU 5-6 CUI). BYU bounced back and would hold the lead for the rest of the set. Errors by the Eagles and a strong BYU blocking force sent the Cougars on a 5-2 run, putting them up 15-11. BYU won the set 25-20 after a CUI service error. 

SET TWO

BYU showed off its dominance in set two with an immediate kill by Eschenberg. Stanley followed with a kill of his own, setting BYU’s offense into motion. An ace by Jauhiainen (BYU 9-5) followed by an Eschenberg kill, triggered a CUI timeout. After a handful of errors, by both the Eagles and Cougars, Jauhiainen and Garcia Fernandez registered back-to-back blocks, applying pressure at the net (BYU 16-10 CUI). Despite a late 4-0 run by the Eagles at set point, the Cougars finished 25-19 on a kill by Gardini. 

SET THREE

Concordia Irvine came in to set three strong. A big Concordia block in the front row put pressure on the Cougars, forcing Stanley to move the ball around more. To start the set, freshman middle blocker Gavin Julien was in the lineup for the Cougars and registered a kill early on (BYU 4-4 CUI). A run of three straight aces by Concordia (BYU 8-10 CUI) gave way to BYU’s first timeout of the game. The Eagles held on to the lead until a Gardini kill tied the set up at 15s. Kills by Garcia Fernandez and Jauhiainen gave the Cougars a 19-16 edge, forcing a CUI timeout. Coming out of the timeout, BYU ran away with the lead, finishing 25-19 on an Eagles attack error at the net. 

BYU will play tomorrow, Mar. 5 at USC in the Galen Center starting at 5 p.m. PST. The game will be available to watch on the Pac-12 Network.

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