PROVO — Davide Gardini’s career-high 22 kills led No. 9 BYU to a five-set (21-25, 25-17, 21-25, 25-23, 17-15) victory over No. 8 Stanford at the Smith Fieldhouse on Thursday to remain undefeated at home.
The decisive fifth set began in Stanford’s favor after it claimed the first two points. BYU battled to regain the lead, however, and a Storm Fa’agata-Tufuga kill tied up the set 5-5. Stanford took the advantage again but a Felipe de Brito Ferreira kill evened it out once more, 11-11. A BYU triple block kept Stanford from taking the first possible match point opportunity, and a Taylor Richards pancake ultimately led to BYU taking the set and match point, 17-15.
BYU is now 8-4 on the season with a 4-2 record in the MPSF, while Stanford maintains an 11-6 overall record and a 3-3 MPSF record.
"I thought we did a good job overall," BYU head coach Shawn Olmstead said. "The defensive effort from the start was kind of slow on both sides. In the end, the guys found a way to win. To be able to rebound, find a way to win and continue battling is what it comes down to."
Gardini set a career high in kills while hitting at a career-high .515 clip for a five-set match. Wil Stanley set a season high for assists in a five-set match with 54, while also contributing four digs. Gabi Garcia Fernandez added 13 kills, six digs and four blocks to extend his double-digit kill streak to eight matches. As a team, BYU hit a season-high percentage for a five-set match at .365.
In set one, the teams traded points back and forth, with Stanford maintaining a slim lead. Miki Jauhiainenand Gardini each tallied a kill to put the Cougars within one, 14-13. After a tight middle of the set, the Cougars tied it up, 20-20, off of a Jauhiainen kill. However, the Cardinal then went on a 4-0 run to take the set 25-21.
BYU’s strong response at the beginning of the second set led to a Garcia Fernandez ace, putting the score at 2-2. The quick start was followed by a 3-0 run with two kills by Fa’agata-Tufuga and Garcia Fernandez, 7-4. Four kills by Gardini, paired with a de Brito Ferreira ace, boosted the Cougars to a 17-13 edge. A block by Garcia Fernandez and Jauhiainen propelled BYU into the 20s, and a service error by Stanford sealed the set for the Cougars, 25-17.
BYU’s momentum rolled into the third set as it claimed two back-to-back kills, 4-2. The Cardinal took the advantage, 10-6, but the Cougars slowly chipped away at the deficit. A Gardini ace followed by a block tied the score up 17-17. However, Stanford went on a 4-0 run and claimed its last point on a kill, taking the set 25-21.2 comments on this story
The fourth set began much like the first with the teams trading points back and forth. The Cougars claimed a two-point lead going into double digits with a Jauhiainen and Garcia Fernandez block and a Stanford attack error, 11-9. The teams then continued trading points back and forth in an intense competition, until a Garcia Fernandez ace put BYU up at set point, 24-21. Another Gardini kill then gave the Cougars the set, 25-23.
The Cougars face off against Stanford again in their next match on Saturday, March 2, at 7 p.m. PST at the Maples Pavilion. The match will be broadcast live by the Pac-12 and live stats will be located on the men’s volleyball schedule page.