BYU men’s volleyball completes sweep of Concordia Irvine

BYU’s young men’s volleyball squad found its groove in a two-match sweep against Concordia Irvine on Friday and Saturday, serving as the pick me up the team needed after having lost nine matches in a row.

The first match featured a minimum three-set sweep of the Eagles, with the first set controlled early by the Cougars. After a service error from Bartosz Slawinski, BYU took a 4-0 run that helped elevate their lead. Miks Ramanis earned back to back aces in the set, while Davide Gardini created several kills at the net en route to a 25-16 BYU set win.

In the second set, the Cougars scored first and never looked back. Ramanis padded the lead with a number of kills, and Kupono Browne found his way around the net for 14 kills and 21 assists in the match.

“I know when I’m out there, I’m out there with five other guys,” Browne said. “If I can keep my composure, I’m doing my job out there.”

Concordia Irvine made adjustments for the final Friday set, but after a 3-0 run for BYU with an ace and save from server standout server Jon Stanley, BYU planted the victory firmly by winning the set 25-17. The Cougars racked up 42 kills in the match, with a .569% hitting percentage, 21 digs and eight aces. Gardini led the team with 15 kills and Ramanis added three aces.

Saturday’s match proved more competitive than the previous. Having been swept and now carrying a three game losing skid, the Eagles came out and challenged the Cougars in the first set and took advantage of several hitting errors from BYU to win the set 25-19.

Having dealt with adversity all season, the Cougars refused to quit. Despite another back and forth set, the Cougars pulled away following a tie at 15. Aces from outside hitter Gavin Julien and blocks by Ramanis and Teon Taylor elevated the Cougars to a 25-21 set win, followed by a 25-18 win in set three.

Feeling the desperation, Concordia Irvine fought back and to tie the fourth set at 18, but a clutch ace from Gardini stamped a 25-22 set win to take home a match victory for the Cougars.

The Cougars earned 55 kills in the second match with nine blocks and seven aces. Gardini again led the team with 19 kills and two aces. Ramanis also contributed with 15 kills and two aces.

“I think it’s a huge opportunity for me and every single other guy in the gym,” Browne said of playing with Cardini. “Davide is playing at the international level and the collegiate level, so being in the same side of the court as him.. it’s a learning opportunity for all of us.”

BYU (7-11, 2-4 MPSF), now having won two straight at home, will enjoy a bye for this upcoming weekend before hitting the road for another tough challenge against the Waves of Pepperdine in Malibu.

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