The No. 3 BYU men’s volleyball team swept No. 15 Penn State (25-19, 25-22, 25-21) for the second consecutive night Saturday at the Smith Fieldhouse.
“We wanted our guys to come out a little more patient tonight and they responded really well,” BYU head coach Shawn Olmstead said. “They read the game really well and were getting across into the opponent’s court. They did a really good job.”
Sophomore Davide Gardini recorded a match-high 11 kills on a .474 clip while also adding a career-high five block assists and two digs. Junior Gabi Garcia Fernandez tallied eight kills, six blocks and six digs while junior Felipe de Brito Ferreira also contributed six blocks to go along with five kills. Freshman Teilon-Jonathan Tufuga recorded a team-high three aces and added three kills, three digs and two blocks.
As a team, the Cougars (4-0) recorded a .328 hitting percentage while holding the Nittany Lions (0-2) to .210. BYU also tallied 13 team blocks on the night to Penn State’s 3.5.
Two kills by Gardini followed by back-to-back BYU blocks gave the Cougars an early 6-1 advantage in Set 1. Penn State, however, responded with five unanswered points to tie the set at 6-all. A kill by Garcia Fernandez followed by a Gardini ace built BYU’s lead back up to four, 11-7. Kills by de Brito Ferreira and Garcia Fernandez followed by blocks by Gardini and Miki Jauhiainen brought the score to 15-11. BYU built its lead up to six points, 22-16, after a Garcia Fernandez kill and a block by Zach Eschenberg and Jauhiainen. A Wil Stanley kill followed by a Nittany Lion service error and a Gardini kill then gave the Cougars the 25-19 set win.
After de Brito Ferreira opened the second set with a kill, Penn State scored three-straight points to take a 3-1 lead. Two more kills by de Brito Ferreira and one by Gardini then tied the set at 5-5. A 4-1 run gave the Nittany Lions a 9-6 advantage, but Penn State service and attack errors followed by two kills by Gardini brought BYU within one, 11-10. After kills by Tufuga and Garcia Fernandez tied the set at 14, back-to-back kills by Gardini gave the Cougars an 18-16 advantage. A block by Garcia Fernandez and a block by Gardini on consecutive plays built BYU’s lead up to five, 22-17. The Nittany Lions came back within two points before two Garcia Fernandez kills finished off the set 25-22 for the Cougars.
Back-to-back aces by Tufuga gave BYU an early 7-6 advantage to start the third set. The teams continued to trade points back and forth, with a kill and ace by Tufuga bringing the score to 15-14 for the Cougars. Kills by Gardini and Branden Oberender followed by a block by Wil Stanley, Jauhiainen and Tufuga increased BYU’s lead to three, 21-18. A block by Jauhiainen and Tufuga followed by kills by Fernandez and Jauhiainen gave the Cougars the win 25-21.
The Cougars will next travel to play their first match against Mount Olive in program history in Mt. Olive, North Carolina, at 7 p.m. EST. on Friday.