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SALT LAKE CITY — The No. 8 BYU men’s volleyball team gave fans something to love on Valentine’s Day, a home sweep over conference foe Concordia.
The Cougars returned to Provo for their first home match in over a month in a three-set sweep (32-30, 25-18, 25-13) over the Eagles.
Head coach Shawn Olmstead couldn’t give the fans in attendance enough praise after the win, saying: “Our fans are great, especially to come out tonight. I hope they know how much that means to our guys. … I know our guys really appreciate it.”
Concordia came out swinging in the first set, taking a 5-1 lead before a Cougar timeout. The Cougars would answer, eventually taking their first lead of the set at 12-11. After weathering another Concordia run, the Cougars finally capitalized on their sixth set-point to win the first set 32-30.
The Cougars went on to lead the way for most of the second set before pounding the Eagles in the third, nearly doubling Concordia’s point total.
Sophomore Gabi Garcia Fernandez and Freshman Davide Gardini led the way for the Cougars on the offensive end, tallying up 14 kills each. Junior Andrew Lincoln and sophomore Felipe de Brito Ferreira also made key contributions for the Cougars’ offense, recording eight kills apiece.
Garcia Fernandez, who entered the match with the third best aces-per-set mark in the MPSF Conference at .46, lived up to that stat, finishing the game with three aces.
On the defensive end, the Cougars were led by junior Miki Jauhiainen, who recorded one solo block and assisted on two others.
The past month of play was rough for the Cougars, who started the season ranked No. 3 in the country with a 4-0 record but dropped to 4-4 after four straight road losses.
“The guys needed this.” Olmstead said, “We had a tough little road stretch, and for them to be able to come in here and put that behind them … that was really important.”
The win is the Cougars’ first in MPSF Conference play, putting them at 1-2 on the year and 5-4 overall.
BYU will remain at home this weekend for another conference matchup against No. 14 USC on Saturday evening.