The BYU men’s volleyball season is underway!

The third-ranked Cougars began their season last weekend, losing to No. 13 Loyola-Chicago on Jan. 5 and defeating No. 6 Lewis on Jan. 6. The team now hits the road for games against Ball State on Jan. 12 and Ohio State Jan. 13.

BYU lost in the fifth set of a tight match to Loyola-Chicago, and then defeated Lewis in four sets the following day.

The Cougars are coming off their second consecutive trip to the national championship, losing to Ohio State in the final.

The Cougars were voted to win their conference, the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation, for the third-straight season, and were ranked No. 3 in the nation in the AVCA preseason poll.

Twelve of BYU’s opponents this season finished the 2017 season ranked in the Top-15 of the final AVCA Coaches’ Poll, while four played in the six-team berth NCAA tournament alongside the Cougars.

Twelve players who saw action last year return for the Cougars, including three starters and the team’s libero. Additionally, BYU adds eight newcomers to this year’s roster.

6-foot-7 freshman Gabi Garcia Fernandez made his presence felt immediately in his first two games as a Cougar, recording 35 kills and eight blocks over the weekend.

Seniors Brendan Sander, Leo Durkin and Price Jarman were all named to Preseason All-America teams, with Sander on the first team and Durkin and Jarman on the second.

Sander and Jarman also helped the U.S. to a fifth-place finish in the Pan American Cup in Canada last summer.

Shawn Olmstead returns as the team’s coach for his third year.

The Cougars return to Provo to play Barton College Jan. 19 at 7 p.m. and Jan. 20 at 8 p.m. in the Smith Fieldhouse.

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