Garcia Fernandez earns back-to-back MPSF player of the year honors, five other Cougars honored
WOODLAND, Calif. — BYU men’s volleyball senior opposite hitter Gabi Garcia Fernandez was named Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Player of the Year for the second consecutive season and five other Cougars earned all-conference honors, the conference announced Wednesday.
Garcia Fernandez was one of three Cougars named to the All-MPSF First Team, joining senior setter Wil Stanley and junior outside hitter Davide Gardini. Senior middle blocker Felipe de Brito Ferreira and senior outside hitter Zach Eschenberg were named to the All-MPSF Second Team. Senior middle blocker Miki Jauhiainen received All-MPSF honorable mention honors.
Garcia Fernandez is the fifth player all-time to earn back-to-back MPSF player of the year honors. He is a four-time All-MPSF First-Team selection, the third all-time to achieve the feat. Garcia Fernandez helped the second-ranked Cougars to a 17-3 (.850) regular season and No. 1 seed in the MPSF Tournament. He has recorded the MPSF’s top-two single-match hitting percentages this year (12-kill minimum), in back-to-back matches which resulted in MPSF Offensive Player of the Week recognition following both efforts. He attacked for an errorless .833 clip with 15 kills against Pepperdine (Feb. 12) and an errorless .800 clip with 12 kills against UCLA (Feb. 6). In the MPSF’s regular season, he compiled the most kills (254), most points (317.5), and served the most aces (33). His 33 aces are the fourth-most across the country, while he ranks ninth in the NCAA in points per set (4.67). Garcia Fernandez recorded 14 double-digit kill matches, while hitting at least .300 in 12 of BYU’s 20 matches. His 172 career aces entering the postseason are within four of the MPSF’s all-time top-10. Garcia Fernandez represents BYU’s sixth MPSF Player of the Year (Garcia Fernandez-2021, ‘20; Taylor Sander-2014, ‘13; Carlos Moreno-2004; Ryan Millar-1997).
Stanley averaged 10.07 assists per set to rank No. 2 in the conference and No.10 nationally. It is his second appearance on the All-MPSF first team. The setter’s 655 assists helped the Cougars rank second in the NCAA with a .358 hitting percentage. He also totaled 80 digs, 34 blocks and six aces in 54 sets.
Two seasons after being named the 2019 MPSF Freshman of the Year, Gardini now has back-to-back All-MPSF first team honors. The outside hitter recorded 177 kills while finishing the year with an efficient hitting percentage of .336. He also had 92 digs while totaling 42 blocks and 23 aces.
De Brito Ferreira averaged 1.14 blocks per set to lead the MPSF in the category and sit at No. 7 nationally. The middle blocker started 15 matches and hit .433 while connecting for 68 kills. The senior has now been an All-MPSF selection all four of his years at BYU.
Eschenberg finished his season with a career-high 136 kills, 52 digs, 26 blocks and 19 aces. Jauhiainen had 54 blocks, 48 kills and 16 digs.
The Cougars start up their MPSF tournament play Friday as the No. 1 seed. They’ll face the lowest remaining seed after Wednesday’s first-round games. BYU is hosting the tournament at the Smith Fieldhouse in Provo. Get all of the information on our MPSF Tournament Central page.
For a full list of MPSF honorees, visit mpsports.org