BYU men’s volleyball beat UC San Diego and No. 14 USC in four-set matches over the weekend, improving to an 8-4 record and maintaining their No. 7 national ranking.

Senior Brenden Sander led the Cougars with double-digit kills in both matches, en route to his first award of the year, the Off the Block National Outside Attacker of the Week.

Sander was also named MPSF Offensive Player of the Week and VolleyMob Player of the Week.

“Brenden did a phenomenal job leading the group,” said coach Shawn Olmstead. “And we followed his lead.”

In a four-set road win at UC San Diego, Sander collected a match-high 15 kills on a .419 clip to go with a career-high 11 digs for just his second-ever double-double. He also added a match-high three aces and four blocks (tying a season high) in the win.

Then, in a four-set road win at USC, Sander blasted a career-high 23 kills (besting his previous career high by four kills) in addition to a career-high five service aces (good for sixth-most all time in BYU rally-scoring era history).

The match against USC opened MPSF conference play for the Cougars, giving them a 1-0 record heading into matches against No. 10 Grand Canyon and Concordia Irvine this week.

Freshman phenom Gabi Garcia Fernandez also stuff the stat sheet this weekend, with 11 kills, eight digs and six blocks against UCSD, and 18 kills and six digs against USC.

Fernandez has already won Off the Block Freshman of the Week twice this season.

The trip to Phoenix to take on Grand Canyon will be the first matchup ever between the two schools. The match will be Thursday, Feb. 15, at 6 p.m. MST. A live stream will be available on YouTube.

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