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Katherine Carling | Posted: 16 Feb 2019 | Updated: 24 Dec 2020
Katherine Carling

No. 8 BYU defends home court with win over No. 14 USC


PROVO, Utah – No. 8 BYU men’s volleyball defeated No. 14 University of Southern California (28-26, 25-22, 25-23, 25-13) in a four-set battle Saturday in the Smith Fieldhouse.

BYU vs. USC Final Box Score

"We were able to make good touches at the net and that helped us tonight," BYU head coach Shawn Olmstead said. "We haven't gotten the touches that we've been accustomed to in the past and that is something that we've focused on in practice continually. We slowed things down and we were in a little better position to go attack." 

The Cougars fell just one kill short of their season high in kills with 60, doing so one in one less set than they did at Penn State on Jan. 18. Gabi Garcia Fernandez led the Cougars with 25 kills, giving him his sixth consecutive match in doubles digits, and also contributed seven digs. Freshman Davide Gardini recorded a career-high 20 kills in the match, hitting at .452 clip. Wil Stanley led all players in digs and assists, with nine and 52, respectively. Miki Jauhiainen had a season-high six total blocks in the contest.

The Cougars (6-4, 2-2 MPSF) remained even with the Trojans (7-6, 1-2 MPSF) early, going point for point in the first set until USC took the first two-point lead, 10-8. Kills by Garcia Fernandez and Jauhiainen aided BYU in taking the lead back, 22-21. Trading points back and forth, the Cougars and Trojans were tied 26-26 and USC took the first set, 28-26, off two Cougar attack errors. 

Garcia Fernandez collected his 10th kill of the match early in set two to help bring the Cougars to a 7-5 lead over the Trojans. BYU remained ahead despite battling back-and-forth once again with USC, until the Trojans brought it to a 16-16 tie. A combined block by Gardini and Jauhiainen gave the Cougars a 23-21 lead. BYU took set two, 25-22, off a Trojan attack error.

A block by USC brought about an early 6-4 Trojan lead in set three. The Cougars came back to take the lead, 13-12, with a 4-0 run on kills from Garcia Fernandez and Jauhiainen. The Trojans responded and claimed the lead once again, 19-17. BYU quickly recovered when Alex Ah Sue gave the lead back to the Cougars at 20-19 by landing an ace. A comeback pass and block from BYU brought energy and accelerated the Cougars to a 25-23 set three win.

Using the momentum from the previous set, BYU took an early 6-3 lead in set four. Back-to-back kills by Garcia Fernandez gave the Cougars a five-point lead, 10-5. A 5-1 run by BYU extended the lead to 15-8 and the Cougars kept pushing forward as Garcia Fernandez landed a powerful ace, bringing the score to 18-11. The Cougars made it to a 24-13 match point on a 7-1 run against the Trojans. A kill from Garcia Fernandez sealed the match win at 25-13.

The Cougars remain home to take on Grand Canyon on Saturday, Feb. 23 at 7 p.m. MST. The match will be broadcast live on BYUtv and live stats will be available on the men’s volleyball schedule page.

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Caleb Turner | Posted: 13 Feb 2019 | Updated: 8 Nov 2020
Caleb Turner

No. 8 BYU returns to Provo


PROVO, Utah — No. 8 BYU men’s volleyball returns home to the Smith Fieldhouse this week for their first matches in Provo since Jan. 12, taking on Concordia Irvine on Thursday and No. 14 USC on Saturday as MPSF play continues.

Week 6 Match Notes

No. 8 BYU (4-4, 0-2 MPSF)

  • The Cougars opened conference play last week on the road with a pair of losses at No. 5 Pepperdine and No. 4 UCLA, their fifth and sixth consecutive matches away from Provo. 

  • Sophomore opposite hitter Gabi Garcia Fernandez continued his impressive play with his fourth consecutive match with double-digit kills and seventh in eight matches. He had an all-around solid outing against the Bruins with 11 kills, three aces, seven digs and three blocks. He ranks first in the MPSF in kills with 4.27 per set and third in aces with .46 per set.

  • Miki Jauhiainen and Felipe de Brito Ferreira continue to stand out on the defensive end for the Cougars, as both rank among the top 10 in the MPSF in blocks. Jauhiainen sits in third place with one block per set and de Brito Ferreira sits in seventh with .88 blocks per set.

  • The strong defensive play from the middle blockers as well as the setter and outside hitters put BYU at the top of the conference in blocks with 2.48 per set, and consistent pressure from the service line has the Cougars at second in aces with 1.7 per set.

Concordia Irvine (5-8, 1-0 MPSF)

  • The Eagles won their only match last week against Grand Canyon in four sets, giving them a solid start to conference play and the No. 2 spot in the MPSF standings.

  • BYU owns the overall series against CUI 2-1, but the Eagles won the last meeting in Provo on Mar. 29, 2018, in a five-set battle.

  • CUI head coach Shawn Patchell is a BYU alum and former head coach of the men’s volleyball team here in Provo, having played on the first NCAA BYU men’s volleyball team as a four-year starter.

  • The Eagles are led by junior outside hitter Jordan Hoppe on the offensive end, averaging 3.47 kills per set. On the defensive end, sophomore libero Addison Enriques leads the MPSF in digs with 2.31 per set, and senior middle blocker Hunter Howell ranks fifth in the conference in blocks with .95 per set.

  • CUI holds the advantage over the Cougars in kills per set and assists per set with 11.7–10.4 and 11.0–10.04 leads, but BYU leads in hitting percentage and blocks per set with .287–.247 and 2.5–2.0 leads.

No. 14 USC (7-4, 1-0 MPSF)

  • The Trojans also opened conference play against Grand Canyon, sweeping the Lopes en route to a second-place tie with Concordia in the MPSF standings.

  • BYU is 40-13 against USC in the all-time series, including victories in the last six meetings between the teams.

  • Senior libero Matt Douglas was named MPSF Defensive Player of the Week on Tuesday for his 10-dig performance against Grand Canyon. He is fourth in the MPSF on the season in digs with a 2.03 per-set average.

  • Senior outside hitters Jack Wyett and Ryan Moss lead the charge on offense for the Trojans, both ranking in the top six in the conference in kills. Moss was named MPSF Offensive Player of the Week after a win over UC Irvine on Jan. 23.

  • USC leads BYU in kills per set and hitting percentage with 13.5–10.4 and .333–.287 advantages, but the Cougar defense takes the cake in blocks with a 2.5–2.0 lead in blocks per set and a 118–104 lead in total block assists.

Both matches will be televised live on BYUtv and live stats can be found on the men’s volleyball schedule page.