Phil Fuchs finished his BYU career with an exclamation point as he helped BYU volleyball beat No. 1 Hawaii for the second night in a row, 3-2 in the last game of the season.
Fuchs led the night with 22 kills, his career high, with Hawaii’s Brook Sedore close behind with 21 kills. Brenden Sander contributed 16 kills and 10 digs.
“I came in before the game today and thought that it looked like they were going to give me a chance to play today, so I’m going to leave it all out on the court,” Fuchs said.
Hawaii came back from last night’s loss determined to win and quickly pulled ahead 15-9 in the first set. Errors from the Warriors, along with kills from Fuchs, allowed the Cougars to narrow the deficit to 19-17. Michael Hatch got the Smith Fieldhouse fired up with a block to make it a one-point game, but BYU couldn’t sustain the momentum and dropped the first set to Hawaii 25-22.
“I was really impressed that they were able to turn it around in a day,” coach Chris McGown said. “They were serving easy yesterday and then to come and be as aggressive as they were, but our guys did a great job and stayed composed playing throughout the entire match.”
BYU started the second set on fire and took a quick 4-1 lead. The Warriors were able to take their first lead of the set at 12-11 but couldn’t maintain it long, as the lead changed back and forth. Fuchs’ seven kills in the set pushed the Cougars ahead of Hawaii and were key for the Cougars to win the set 25-21.
Fuchs kept the fire going into the third set and put the Cougars in the lead once again. The score stayed close, but BYU was able to hold on to the lead with blocks from Hatch. A kill and back-to-back blocks from Sander widened the gap to 16-12 Cougars. Hawaii was able to take the lead toward the end of the set until another block from Fuchs and Hatch tied it up 22-22. Once again it wasn’t enough, as the Warriors took the set 25-23.
BYU was able to pull ahead 10-7 in the fourth set with Fuchs’ 17th kill of the night. The Cougars took off from there, as more kills from Fuchs led the Cougars to another set win, 25-18. The fifth and final set stayed tied until Hawaii pulled ahead 9-7 despite several kills from Sander. Another kill from Fuchs tied the set 9-9. Back-to-back blocks from Joe Grosh put BYU in the lead, and the Cougars went on from there to win the set 15-14 and the match 3-2.
Seniors Fuchs, Josue Rivera and Jaylen Reyes were honored for senior night in their last games as Cougars. Fuchs finished his career with BYU with a career-high 22 kills. Rivera did not play in tonight’s game due to injury. His career highlight was 20 kills, 36 attempts and six assists against Loyola Marymount in 2012. Reyes, originally from Hawaii, finished with a career-high 18 digs this season against Stanford.
“It’s fun to come out on top from a match like that,” Coach McGown said. “I’m so happy for our seniors.”