No. 3 BYU men’s volleyball swept No. 15 Penn State University (25-23, 25-19, 25-22) on Friday, Jan. 10 during the home opener at the Smith Fieldhouse.
“We’ve got some really good offense and that showed tonight,” BYU Head coach Shawn Olmstead said. “We got the big plays from our big guys, Davide (Gardini) and Gabi (Garcia Fernandez), when we really needed them.”
Garcia Fernandez led the team with 14 kills during the match. Gardini followed close behind with 13 kills. Both players averaged 14.5 points. Wil Stanley contributed with 32 assists, and Zach Eschenberg had 14 total attacks.
“We did a lot of great things today,” Garcia Fernandez said. “We made some strikes, and we got the results.”
The win against Penn State brings BYU’s record to 3-0.
“One play can really turn things in our favor,” Coach Olmstead said. “A couple hustle plays here really got the crowd going and changed things that way.”
Set one was a close contest as BYU continually traded points with Penn State. While Eschenberg scored the first point of the game with a kill, Penn State matched BYU’s efforts, keeping the score tied for the majority of the set. BYU finally pulled a lead after Stanley hit the first ace of the match, making the score 18-16. After continuing to trade points, BYU pulled a lead again after a series of service errors by Penn State and a solo block by Miki Jauhiainen, bringing the score to 22-19. Garcia Fernandez was able to secure the set win with his ninth kill of the game, the score ending 25-23.
The Cougars maintained a solid lead throughout set two. Garcia Fernandez earned the first point of the set with a tip, which was followed by BYU successfully challenging the second point of the set. A shared block by Felipe de Brito Ferreira and Stanley earned the Cougars their fourth consecutive point and a six-point lead, bringing the score to 13-7. The set ended 25-19, giving BYU a 2-0 match lead.
BYU trailed behind Penn State during the beginning of the third set. A shared block by Stanley and de Brito Ferreira tied the score at 9-9, and the Cougars gained their first lead after a kill by Garcia Fernandez which brought the score to 13-12. BYU and Penn State continued to trade points, but the Cougars pulled away with a 25-22 win off a shared block by Jauhiainen.
The crowd kept the Cougars energized throughout all three matches.
“It’s fun to play here, all those people show up, it’s nuts,” Gardini said. “It makes everything easier, so thank you to everyone who came.”
The Cougars will face Penn State in the Smith Fieldhouse again on Saturday, Jan. 11, before traveling to North Carolina to play the University of Mount Olive next weekend.