No. 4 BYU men’s volleyball recorded nine aces in a sweep (25-21, 25-15, 25-18) over Saint Francis on Saturday at DeGol Arena, just 13 hours after finishing a five-set match on Friday night against Penn State.
“When we decided to change this match from the evening to the morning, we talked to the team about our mindset and approach to dealing with change," BYU head coach Shawn Olmstead said. "I am very happy with our team's focus considering the quick turnaround after a long match last night."
Freshman Davide Gardini led the Cougars with 11 kills on a .526 hitting percentage, in addition to a career and match-high four aces. Setter Wil Stanley contributed 27 assists and matched his season high with three aces. Miki Jauhiainen and Branden Oberender each had four blocks, with Oberender also adding a career-high seven kills to his stat line.
With the quick turnaround between matches, Olmstead went with Taylor Richards at libero to give Zach Hendrickson a rest, and 11 Cougars saw the floor during the three-set match.
The match started out close, with the teams tied at eight early in the first set. BYU was able to pull away, however, and an ace from Stanley gave the Cougars their largest lead, 20-13. The Red Flash brought it back within three, 23-20, before the Cougars won it, 25-21, on a kill from Gardini.
BYU led the entire second set. A serving hot streak gave the Cougars their first double-digit lead, 21-11, after back-to-back aces from Gardini and another one from Alex Ah Sue. BYU was able to maintain the 10-point advantage, going on to win the set, 25-15.2 comments on this story
In the third set, BYU elected to rest several of its starters, giving some of the younger Cougars, such as Ah Sue and Oberender, a chance to prove themselves. The team was able to continue its lead, and a block by Oberender put BYU up by six, 19-13. Three service errors by the Red Flash late in the set allowed BYU to pull away, and a block by Ah Sue sealed the victory, 25-18.
With the win, BYU improves to 4-0 on the season, while Saint Francis drops to 3-1. The Cougars have a two-week break before heading to California for back-to-back matches against UC Santa Barbara on Feb. 1 and 2. Links for live stats can be found on the men’s volleyball schedule page.