BYU volleyball defeats Stanford, advances to MPSF semifinals

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BYU freshman Davide Gardini spikes the ball in a career-high performance. (Jaren Wilkey/BYU Photo)

BYU men’s volleyball defeated No. 4 seeded Stanford 3-2 (18-25, 25-16, 26-24, 19-25, 16-14) in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation quarterfinals April 13. The team will advance to the semifinals against No. 1 seeded Pepperdine on April 18 in Malibu, California.

Not only did the Cougars defeat Stanford at Stanford’s own Maples Pavilion, but they also closed the book on Stanford for the season with a 2-1 record against the Cardinal. The victory paralleled BYU’s earlier narrow home victory against Stanford, when BYU also won 3-2. 

“I’m happy for the boys and proud of their battle from start to finish,” said BYU head coach Shawn Olmstead. “We had a very solid performance from the service line and had the right mindset in those moments.”

The win was refreshing and reinvigorating for the team members, as they had previously lost five games in a row.

BYU’s own Davide Gardini once again displayed his talent as he led the Cougars in kills, with 23, and in service aces, with five. The freshman’s five service aces were the most of any player on either team, marking a new career high for the Italian.

BYU offensive staples Gabi Garcia Fernandez and Felipe de Brito Ferreira also significantly contributed to the team’s victory, with Garcia Fernandez scoring 18 kills and Ferreira scoring 14. Ferreira also contributed four blocks, the second highest number of the team.

Andrew Lincoln lead the Cougars in blocks with five, also contributing an impressive 13 digs, proving himself to be an indispensable part of BYU’s defensive efforts. Teammate Zach Hendrickson followed close behind with 12 digs of his own. These defensive efforts were especially important as Stanford’s outside hitter Jordan Ewert had his most successful game of the season with 28 kills.

Brody Earnest, who has been filling in for the injured Wil Stanley, continued to prove his competence as a setter against the Cardinal. The freshman’s ability to coordinate Cougar offense was on full display as he contributed 54 assists, only three short of his career high of 57.

Looking forward, men’s volleyball will compete in the MPSF semi-finals against the No.1 seeded Pepperdine Waves. The Cougars split wins with the Waves during the regular season, with both teams winning on their home court. The winner will move onto the finals and play the victor of the No. 2 UCLA vs. No. 3 USC match. 

The MPSF semifinal can be streamed live on April 18 on byucougars.com. The first serve is set for 6 p.m. Mountain Daylight Time.

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