MPSF Volleyball Results, Mar. 8

Photo by Troy Makalena
Photo by Troy Makalena
March 8, 2018

BYU 3, Penn State 2

Recap by BYU

HONOLULU – Gabi Garcia Fernandez and Brenden Sander helped No. 4 BYU men’s volleyball past No. 11 Penn State in five sets (21-25, 29-27, 25-22, 19-25, 15-13) Thursday night at the Stan Sheriff Center to begin play in the Outrigger Resorts Invitational.

Sander led the Cougars with 20 kills to go with five digs, and Fernandez added 19 kills on a .419 clip and three aces. Leo Durkin set the team with 50 assists while contributing nine digs. Felipe de Brito Ferreira had seven blocks in the win.

Miki Jauhiainen got the first kill of the decisive fifth set for BYU (15-4, 7-0 MPSF). A kill gave Penn State (10-5, 5-2 EIVA) a 5-3 lead, however. The Cougars followed with four-straight points, capped off by a Sander ace, to go up 7-5. Penn State tied the score at 8-8, but BYU scored the next three points to take an 11-8 advantage. The Nittany Lions then got within a point on multiple occasions, but the Cougars took the set and match 15-13 after a Fernandez kill.

Penn State jumped out to a 3-0 lead to start the first set, but back-to-back aces from Storm Fa’agata-Tufuga inched BYU ahead 8-7. The Nittany Lions were soon back in control at 17-14, however, following two service errors from each team and a Penn State kill. Wil Stanley then subbed in, collecting an ace to help push the Cougars to an 18-17 edge. The Nittany Lions went on a 4-1 run to go up 22-20 before taking the set 25-21 on a kill.

Four kills from Fernandez gave BYU a 6-3 lead to start the second set. A block from Jauhiainen and Sander kept the Cougars ahead 13-10. Penn State followed with a 4-0 rally to take a 17-16 lead. A service error from the Nittany Lions gave BYU set point at 24-23, but the teams went into overtime before a kill from Cyrus Fa’alogo and a Penn State attack error gave the Cougars the set 29-27.

A kill from Sander and several Nittany Lion errors pushed BYU ahead 6-2 at the beginning of the third set. The Cougars stayed ahead at 12-8 after another Sander kill. Penn State then scored four-straight points to tie things up at 12 apiece. The teams remained within a point of each other until a Durkin and Ferrieira block put BYU up 18-16 in the tight set. Another Cougar block gave BYU set point, 24-22, before a Fernandez kill won the set 25-22.

Another Fernandez kill helped BYU take a 7-5 lead in the fourth set. The Nittany Lions went on a 5-1 run, capped off by an ace, to take a 14-12 advantage. Penn State stayed in control at 24-17 following a 7-1 run, which forced a timeout from the Cougars. The Nittany Lions then won the set 25-19, sending the match to the decisive fifth set.

The Cougars continue play in the Outrigger Resorts Invitational Friday, Mar. 9, at 4 p.m. HST, against No. 8 Lewis. Live stats for the match will be available on the BYU men’s volleyball schedule page.

Concordia 3, Loyola-Chicago 1

Recap Soon

Grand Canyon 3, Menlo 0

Recap by GCU

PHOENIX – No. 13 Grand Canyon men's volleyball program recorded earned a win coming off their bye week, defeating Menlo College on Thursday night in straight sets. Set scores were 25-18, 25-15 and 25-18. The win moves GCU to 13-6 on the year while Menlo falls to 3-13.

"It's always nice to get a win coming off a bye week." Said head coach Matt Werle. "Sometimes when you have a week off it is difficult to get back into the swing of things but our guys did a good job of finding their rhythm. Menlo is a young team that gave a lot of different looks. They extended rallies forcing us to find different ways of attacking."

The Lopes led Menlo in every statistical category except digs in which they tied at 23. GCU recorded 33 kills, 17 blocks, 30 assists and had a season high 10 aces. A deep rotation not only provided playing time for some younger Lopes but helped give varying looks on the way to holding Menlo to a .035 hitting percentage. GCU used 16 players in the match.

"I'm glad we got to give a number of guys some more on court experience, especially at home." Added Werle. "They were able to keep their composure and perform which can be difficult with our environment."

GCU was led by Ashton King, Cullen Mosher and Shalev Saada who each had five kills with Saada hitting at a perfect 1.000 mark. Three different setters saw action against the Oaks; Puna Kaniho led with 11 assists, Zachary Melcher recorded 10 and freshman Onur Cukur added five. Aces were the story line on the night as five Lopes recorded at least one led by Mosher and Alex Shmelev with three each. For the second match in a row, GCU recorded 15+ blocks totaling 17 thanks to 12 different Lopes. Will Schwob led with seven while Caleb Blazer and Jerod Alleman added six and five respectively.

The first set was the closest of the night after the Oaks claimed a 9-10 lead. A big triple block from Blazer, Scwhob and Cody Williams tied the match and gave the Lopes some momentum. After some back and forth play Mosher put his stamp on the night with a kill followed by back-to-back aces forcing a Menlo time out. The Oaks brought the set within two at 18-16 but the Lopes pulled away thanks to a 4-0 run led by two blocks, a King kill and a Blazer ace. The run spurred the Lopes to take the set 25-18.

The Oaks came out swinging the set number two, taking an early lead 1-3. The Lopes responded by recording nine of the next 10 points behind a couple aces and strong kills from Saada and freshman Trevor Weary. With a 10-4 lead in hand GCU used a multiple of scoring runs to widen the margin, including a 5-0 run late before a Menlo service error put GCU ahead 2-0 in the match.

Set number three had new faces on the floor for the home team. David Kisiel started off the match with a kill and teamed up on a block with Alleman. Alleman was part of another rejection soon after with Schwob and Jack Burton made his mark with a kill giving the Lopes a 4-2 lead. Menlo fought back to come within a point but errors gave the Lopes some breathing room. The Oaks continued to commit errors and hit at a negative mark while GCU capitalized, ending the match with a triple block from Alleman, Burton and Schwob.

"This was a good match to get us back on track but we need to focus on Mount Olive now." Werle stated. "It's tough playing three matches in three days and we need to make sure we are ready. There are still things we need to work on but I am proud of the way our guys performed tonight."

Looking ahead

GCU will host Mount Olive (10-6) on Friday and Saturday in Antelope Gym. The Trojans will play four total matches in Phoenix taking on Menlo Friday morning and Ottawa (Ariz.) on Saturday as neutral matches before facing the Lopes. Both GCU matches are set to begin at 6 p.m. (MST).