BYU men’s volleyball dropped back-to-back games on the road to the University of California Santa Barbara on Feb. 1 and 2, losing all three sets in both matches.
BYU sophomore and opposite hitter Gabi Garcia Fernandez led the Cougars in kills both matches, scoring 13 kills each game. Fernandez also put up three digs in the first game and six in the second.
Garcia Fernandez was supported by sophomore middle blocker Felipe de Brito Ferreira, who put up five kills in the first game and eight in the second. Freshman outside hitter Davide Gardini put up impressive stats of his own, contributing kills and digs in both games.
Despite BYU’s efforts, the Gauchos scored more service aces each game, beating out the Cougars 9-5 in the first game and 11-7 in the second. UCSB, while making similar amounts of errors, managed to score more consistently.
UCSB outside hitter and leading scorer Corey Chavers scored 17 kills in the first game and 16 in the second. In the second match, UCSB outside hitter Ryan Wilcox outscored BYU’s Fernandez with 14 kills of his own. Wilcox scored an impressive three aces in a row to help UCSB secure a victorious third set to close out the first game.
“It was an uncharacteristic match from us in a lot of ways,” BYU head coach Shawn Olmstead said after the first game. “We made a lot of errors in all areas that took the wind out of us. We will have another chance tomorrow that we need to be prepared for.”
Unfortunately, BYU failed to capitalize on its second chance. The Gauchos won all three sets of the first game (25-22, 25-22, 25-20) while winning the second match in an even more dominant fashion (25-15, 25-16, 27-25).
The long weekend in Santa Barbara leaves the Cougars with a 4-2 record. Before the losses, BYU had only dropped two sets on the season, both to Penn State.