BYU Men's volleyball vs. Ohio State 10

Brigham Young University opposite hitter Gabi Garcia Fernandez (5) spikes the ball past Ohio State University blockers for a point during the Cougars' season-opener against the Ohio State Buckeyes held Thursday, Jan. 10, 2019, at Smith Fieldhouse in Provo. Isaac Hale, Daily Herald

The BYU men’s volleyball team righted the ship last week.

A four-match losing streak revealed a serious serve-receive issue but the Cougars — ranked No. 9 in this week’s American Coaches Volleyball Association poll — swept Concordia and topped No. 14 USC 3-1 last week. Now 6-4 overall and 2-2 in MPSF play, BYU hosts Grand Canyon on Saturday.

“We put a lot of emphasis on ball control and controlling things on our side of the net,” BYU coach Shawn Olmstead said. “In those statistics we saw good improvement there. Both of our opponents came in and served pretty well so this was a good measuring stick for us. We were able to open up the offense a little more. We needed to be better.”

The numbers bear that out.

During the four-match losing streak BYU committed 46 reception errors, an average of 11.5 per match. In addition, BYU’s opponents served 46 aces in those four matches, while the Cougars managed just 22.

In the two matches last week, BYU had zero reception errors against Concordia and one against USC, while serving 10 aces to their its opponent’s one.

Sophomore Gabi Garcia Fernandez totaled 39 kills and hit .364 last week and freshman Davide Gardini added 34 kills while hitting .454.

Grand Canyon (0-4, 7-9) has lost six of its past seven matches, including a 3-0 sweep at the hands of No. 8 Stanford on Thursday.

Darnell Dickson, who has been covering sports in Utah since 1989 (with a detour to Nebraska for three years somewhere in there), is currently the BYU football columnist and BYU men’s basketball beat writer.

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