Fernandez and Sander help No. 4 BYU past No. 11 Penn State in five
HONOLULU – Gabi Garcia Fernandez and Brenden Sander helped No. 4 BYU men’s volleyball past No. 11 Penn State in five sets (21-25, 29-27, 25-22, 19-25, 15-13) Thursday night at the Stan Sheriff Center to begin play in the Outrigger Resorts Invitational.
“I'm really proud of the guys for staying in the whole match,” BYU head coach Shawn Olmstead said. “Penn State is really well coached. I'm proud of the way we executed the game plan and pushed through some difficult moments.”
Sander led the Cougars with 20 kills to go with five digs, and Fernandez added 19 kills on a .419 clip and three aces. Leo Durkin set the team with 50 assists while contributing nine digs. Felipe de Brito Ferreira had seven blocks in the win.
Miki Jauhiainen got the first kill of the decisive fifth set for BYU (15-4, 7-0 MPSF). A kill gave Penn State (10-5, 5-2 EIVA) a 5-3 lead, however. The Cougars followed with four-straight points, capped off by a Sander ace, to go up 7-5. Penn State tied the score at 8-8, but BYU scored the next three points to take an 11-8 advantage. The Nittany Lions then got within a point on multiple occasions, but the Cougars took the set and match 15-13 after a Fernandez kill.
Penn State jumped out to a 3-0 lead to start the first set, but back-to-back aces from Storm Fa’agata-Tufuga inched BYU ahead 8-7. The Nittany Lions were soon back in control at 17-14, however, following two service errors from each team and a Penn State kill. Wil Stanley then subbed in, collecting an ace to help push the Cougars to an 18-17 edge. The Nittany Lions went on a 4-1 run to go up 22-20 before taking the set 25-21 on a kill.
Four kills from Fernandez gave BYU a 6-3 lead to start the second set. A block from Jauhiainen and Sander kept the Cougars ahead 13-10. Penn State followed with a 4-0 rally to take a 17-16 lead. A service error from the Nittany Lions gave BYU set point at 24-23, but the teams went into overtime before a kill from Cyrus Fa’alogo and a Penn State attack error gave the Cougars the set 29-27.
A kill from Sander and several Nittany Lion errors pushed BYU ahead 6-2 at the beginning of the third set. The Cougars stayed ahead at 12-8 after another Sander kill. Penn State then scored four-straight points to tie things up at 12 apiece. The teams remained within a point of each other until a Durkin and Ferreira block put BYU up 18-16 in the tight set. Another Cougar block gave BYU set point, 24-22, before a Fernandez kill won the set 25-22.
Another Fernandez kill helped BYU take a 7-5 lead in the fourth set. The Nittany Lions went on a 5-1 run, capped off by an ace, to take a 14-12 advantage. Penn State stayed in control at 24-17 following a 7-1 run, which forced a timeout from the Cougars. The Nittany Lions then won the set 25-19, sending the match to the decisive fifth set.
The Cougars continue play in the Outrigger Resorts Invitational Friday, Mar. 9, at 4 p.m. HST, against No. 8 Lewis. Live stats for the match will be available on the BYU men’s volleyball schedule page.
No. 4 BYU travels to Hawai’i for three
PROVO, Utah – No. 4 BYU men’s volleyball travels to Honolulu, Hawai’i, this week for a trio of matches against No. 11 Penn State, No. 8 Lewis and No. 2 Hawai’i.
Last week, the Cougars (14-4, 7-0 MPSF) won a five-set come-from-behind thriller against No. 8 Pepperdine before sweeping No. 3 UCLA to stay at the top of the conference standings.
No. 11 Penn State
- BYU faces Penn State (10-4, 5-2 EIVA) Thursday, Mar. 8, at 4 p.m. HST, at the Stan Sheriff Center.
- The Cougars lead the overall series history with the Nittany Lions 11-6.
- BYU has won the past six-straight meetings but is just 3-2 when facing Penn State on a neutral court.
- The Nittany Lions are just 3-2 in their last five matches, most recently sweeping NJIT before falling in five to Princeton.
No. 8 Lewis
- The Cougars compete against the Flyers (13-5, 5-2 MIVA) Friday, Mar. 9, at 4 p.m. HST, at the Stan Sheriff Center.
- BYU holds a 16-3 advantage in the series history with Lewis.
- The Cougars have won three-straight against the Flyers, including picking up a four-set win in Provo earlier this season.
- Lewis has won five of its last six matches, falling only on the road at Loyola-Chicago.
No. 2 Hawai’i
- BYU finishes out the week playing Hawai’i (11-2, 1-1 Big West) Saturday, Mar. 10, beginning at 7 p.m. HST, at the Stan Sheriff Center.
- The Cougars are 40-19 all-time against the Warriors.
- BYU had won six-consecutive matchups until being swept by Hawai’i in the semifinals of last season’s MPSF Tournament.
- The Warriors’ two loses this year come from series splits with UCLA and UC Irvine.
Saturday’s match against Hawai’i will be televised live by Spectrum Sports. Live stats will also be available for all three matches. Links can be found on the BYU men’s volleyball schedule page.