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BYU men’s volleyball drops second match to No. 5 Penn State

By Daily Herald - | Jan 9, 2022

Isaac Hale Daily Herald

Brigham Young University outside hitter Davide Gardini (1) hits the ball past University of California Santa Barbara setter Casey McGarry (2) during a game between the BYU Cougars and the UCSB Gauchos held at Smith Fieldhouse on Friday, Jan. 31, 2020, in Provo. Isaac Hale, Daily Herald

UNIVERSITY PARK, Penn. – The BYU men’s volleyball team posted another 3-0 loss against No. 5 Penn State on Saturday in the Penn State Rec Hall (25-21, 25-19, 26-24).

The Cougars made the match more competitive than the one played Thursday, which they lost 25-14 25-18, 25-19.

Penn State (2-0) racked up 34 kills and a .403 hitting percentage. BYU notched 32 kills and a .286 clip. Both teams had issues at the service line. The Cougars posted 21 service errors, followed by Penn State’s 18.

BYU senior Alex Ah Sue had a game-high 12 kills and hit at a .588 clip. Penn State’s Brett Wildman followed with 10 kills.

The Nittany Lions started the match with a 7-5 lead after giving BYU five points from service errors alone. Davide Gardini tied the match at 7-7 with two consecutive kills, BYU’s first kills of the set.

Six errors by the Cougars and three kills allowed Penn State to maintain a 15-11 lead. Ah Sue tallied two kills to help close the gap, putting BYU behind by just one point at 20-19. Freshman outside hitter Luke Benson and Gardini slammed kills in the final moments of the set, but ultimately, Penn State took the win with an ace at 25-21.

The teams traded points for most of Set 2. A solo block by BYU’s Branden Oberender tied the set for the fifth time at 10-10. Cal Fisher put up three straight aces, giving the Nittany Lions a 14-11 lead. Ultimately, final kills by Fisher and Wildman sealed another set win for Penn State at 25-19.

SET THREE

The Cougars continued to tally points in Set 3, however, issues on the service line allowed Penn State to stay close behind. Two block assists by Julien and Benson gave BYU its biggest lead of the night at 15-11.

The Nittany Lions took the lead at 19-18 after four kills and four BYU errors. Benson and Ah Sue continued to put up a fight, both adding kills. This lit a fire under Gardini, who served two aces, giving BYU a one-point lead at 22-21.

Five fatal errors by BYU secured Penn State’s sweep, with the Nittany Lions winning the set at 26-24.

Both results put the all-time series record at 13-8, favoring the Cougars.

Up next, BYU (0-2) will host No. 4 UC Irvine for its first home match of the season in the Smith Fieldhouse on Friday, Jan. 21 at 7 p.m. MDT.

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