#6 BYU Overcomes 2-Set Hole vs. #7 Pepperdine to Maintain MPSF Lead

  0 Derek Johnson | March 02nd, 2018 | College - Men's Indoor, MPSF, News


  • #6 BYU Def. #7 Pepperdine 3-2 (22-25, 27-29, 25-23, 25-22, 15-11)
  • #6 BYU 13-4 (6-0 MPSF); #7 Pepperdine 9-4 (3-2 MPSF)
  • Provo, Utah (MPSF Match)
  • Box score

Provo, Utah – The current leaders in the MPSF came close to dropping their first league match of the year to a red-hot #7 Pepperdine bunch, but in the end #6 BYU pulled off the reverse sweep. Not only does it give them a two match lead over Pepperdine, but it maintains their one match lead over UCLA, who just lost to Pepperdine a week ago.

In terms of the match itself, BYU’s offense was great throughout until a lackluster fifth (which they still won). Pepperdine’s was just better in the opening two before hitting just .185 in the third and .000 in the fifth, with a strong .364 in the fourth being outdone by BYU’s .500 in that game. In total, BYU hit .355 to Pepperdine’s .258.

What contributed to the difference in hitting percentage was mostly floor defense and a few missed opportunities by Pepperdine to be terminal. That led to a 33-24 edge in digs for the Cougars, who also had the slight advantage in blocks (15.5 to 13.5). Pepperdine earned their big lead on serving and would go on to notch four more aces (10-6) with the same amount of serve errors (22), but the majority of them came in the opening games.

Individually, BYU setter Leo Durkin (56 assists, six blocks, five digs, three kills) found a three-headed monster in Gabi Garcia Fernandez (18 kills, .242, seven digs, three aces), Brenden Sander (17 kills, .467, four blocks) and Storm Fa’agata-Tufuga (13 kills, .348, four blocks, two aces). That was enough to overcome a libero change, as the Cougars struggled in serve receive at times but were great in the exchange between second and third contact.

In the losing effort for Pepperdine, David Wieczorek (20 kills, .351, eight blocks, four aces) continued to be a star with Robert Mullahey (47 assists, nine digs) nearing a double-double. While others like Michael Wexter (six kills, .500) were efficient, they didn’t take enough swings, as the other high-volume options made it so everyone on the Waves outside of Wieczorek hit .217 in what wasn’t their best day.

The schedule doesn’t get any easier after this one for BYU, as they play host to #3 UCLA with another battle for first in the MPSF on the line. For Pepperdine, they stay on the road as they look to rebound and match-up with #20 Stanford.

Press Releases

Courtesy of BYU:

PROVO, Utah – No. 5 BYU men’s volleyball powered past No. 8 Pepperdine in five sets (22-25, 27-29, 25-23, 25-22, 15-11) Thursday night at the Smith Fieldhouse.

“I’m proud of the guys for sticking to it,” BYU head coach Shawn Olmstead said. “Down two sets is not the most ideal place to be in a volleyball match, but we were able to rebound and play better than in the first two sets.”

Gabi Garcia Fernandez led the Cougars with 18 kills and seven digs, while Brenden Sander added 17 kills on a .467 clip. Felipe de Brito Ferreira collected a career-high of 10 blocks and Leo Durkin had season-highs of 56 assists, six blocks and three kills.

A Storm Fa’agata-Tufuga kill and Fernandez service ace opened the fifth set and helped push BYU (13-4, 6-0 MPSF) ahead 5-2. Another Fernandez ace maintained a 10-6 Cougar lead, forcing Pepperdine (9-4, 3-2 MPSF) into a timeout. The Waves answered the momentum with blocks to tie the set at 10-all. A save by Erik Sikes and a block by Durkin, Ferreira and Sander pulled BYU ahead 13-10. Another Durkin and Ferreira block brought the Cougars to set point and a Miki Jauhiainen and Sander block closed the set 15-11 to bring BYU to a 3-2 match win.

Pepperdine jumped to a 4-1 lead early in the first set, but a kill and service ace by Fernandez brought BYU back in the game, down by just one at 4-3. While the Waves remained ahead, kills by Ferreira and Sander pulled the Cougars back within one, 15-14. BYU called a timeout down 20-18 and came back to score the next two points to tie the game, 20-all, with a Sander kill and Wil Stanleyservice ace. Errors from the Cougars allowed the Waves to jump ahead, and a Pepperdine kill solidified the set, 25-22.

A Fernandez kill opened the second set giving BYU the edge, but Pepperdine answered with kills to tie the set 3-all. A Sander kill and Wave errors helped BYU jump ahead 7-4 early in the set. A kill by Fa’agata-Tufuga and back-to-back Cougar blocks kept BYU in the lead 12-9. The Waves came back in the set and both teams were within two of each other, exchanging leads at the end of the set. Tied at points 24 through 27, the Cougars had four-straight set points, but the Waves ultimately took the set with a 29-27 win.

With Pepperdine opening the third set with an edge, a Sander kill and Fa’agata-Tufuga service ace tied the score at 4-all. Both teams stayed within a point of each other until Pepperdine took at two-point lead, 13-11, forcing BYU into a timeout. A block by Jauhiainen and Fernandez helped BYU back in the set at 15-all. Due to Pepperdine errors and another Jauhiainen and Fernandez block, BYU took an 18-15 advantage after a 5-0 run. The Waves chipped away at the Cougar lead, but a Fernandez kill brought BYU to set point and Sander closed the set, 25-23, with a kill.

Both teams were within a point of each other early in the fourth set until Pepperdine slipped ahead 9-6. A Sander and Ferreira kill then helped BYU tie the set 10-all. Back-to-back kills from Durkin pulled the Cougars ahead 13-11. A block by Fa’agata-Tufuga and Ferreira helped BYU get ahead 20-16 after a 7-1 run. A Sander kill brought the Cougars to set point, 24-21. BYU took the set 25-22 after a Pepperdine service error to take the match into a fifth set.

The Cougars remain at home to play No. 3 UCLA Saturday, March 3, at 7 p.m. MST. Live stats are available on the men’s schedule page and the match will be streamed on TheW.tv.

Courtesy of Pepperdine:

PROVO, Utah – The No. 8 Pepperdine men’s volleyball team went ahead 2-0 to start the match against No. 5 Brigham Young at the Smith Fieldhouse on Thursday, but the Cougars countered with three set wins of their own to secure the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation win.

BYU (13-4, 6-0 MPSF) took the five-set win with 22-25, 27-29, 25-23, 25-22 and 15-11 set wins over the Waves (9-4, 3-2 MPSF) to remain undefeated in the league and sit atop the standings.

Pepperdine Logo BIG WAVES


  • David Wieczorek (Chicago, Ill./Loyola Academy): 20 kills, .351 hitting%, 4 aces, 8 blocks (1 solo)
  • Max Chamberlain (Burbank, Calif./John Burroughs HS): 10 blocks, 7 kills, 2 aces, 3 digs
  • Colby Harriman (Rochester, N.Y./McQuaid Jesuit HS): 12 kills, 2 aces, 5 blocks
  • Alex Harthaller (Innsbruck, Austria/Akademischeg Gymnasium/IPFW): 10 kills, 3 digs, 2 blocks
  • Michael Wexter (New Lenox, Ill./Lincoln-Way West HS): 6 kills, .500 hitting%
  • Robert Mullahey (Manhattan Beach, Calif./Mira Costa HS): 47 assists, 9 digs, 1 block
  • Noah Dyer (San Clemente, Calif./Saddleback Valley Christian HS): 6 digs, 4 assists
  • Spencer Wickens (Irondequoit, N.Y./McQuaid Jesuit HS): 2 aces
    Pepperdine Logo WAVES VS. COUGARS

    BYU hit for 61 kills on a .355 hitting percentage against the Waves, while Pepperdine was good for 55 smashes and a .258 clip on the offensive. Although the Waves were good for 10 aces to the Cougars six, BYU put up 60 assists, 33 digs and 15.5 team blocks compared to Pepperdine’s 52 assists, 24 digs and 13.5 blocks.


    Set K-E-TA (Pct)1. 13-2-26 (.423)

    2. 13-6-25 (.280)

    3. 11-6-27 (.185)

    4. 12-4-22 (.364)

    5. 6-6-20 (.000)

    TOTAL: 55-24-120 (.258)

    Pepperdine Logo BYU ATTACK BY SET

    Set K-E-TA (Pct)1. 13-4-23 (.391)

    2. 14-7-26 (.269)

    3. 13-4-25 (.360)

    4. 16-4-24 (.500)

    5. 5-3-12 (.167)

    TOTAL: 61-22-110 (.355)

    Pepperdine Logo NOTABLES
  • BYU broke the Waves five-match winning streak, including two wins over top-five ranked teams.
  • The Waves have posted two top-five upsets in the past two weeks, with a 3-0 sweep over #2 UCLA and a 3-1 win over #4 UC Irvine.
  • David Wieczorek leads the conference in points/set, aces/set and kills/set and is second in hitting percentage. Robert Mullahey is second in the conference in assists/set.
    Pepperdine Logo PLAY-BY-PLAY

    The Waves came out ready to play in the first set, pulling ahead 4-1 on a pair of Colby Harriman smashes and hitting for a perfect 1.000 success rate through the first 16-points of the match. The Cougars stayed close throughout the match, coming within one-point several times and tying the set at 21’s late in the action. Pepperdine gained the early edge, though and kills from David Wieczorek and Max Chamberlain closed things out in the Waves’ favor with a 25-22 set win.In the second set, the opposition came out strong intent on evening the score. After a 9-9 tie early in the set, BYU worked ahead to a 15-12 advantage with a pair of blocks. The Waves had some blocks and smashes in their arsenal as well, though, and stayed close in the match towards an 18-18 tied score. The Cougars still had the momentum, however, and advanced to a set-point opportunity first at the 24-23 mark. The Waves fought off four set-point options to tie the score once again at 27’s . A block from Colby HarrimanAlex Harthaller and Chamberlain gave Pepperdine their first set-point opportunity and after a BYU timeout, the Waves succeeded 29-27 on Wieczorek’s second ace of the night.

    With a 2-0 lead in the match, the Waves came out strong with a 13-11 lead. The set would turn into another see-saw battle, though, as the Cougars tied the set at 15’s and go back-and-forth with the Waves onto the 23-23 mark. Despite some solid Waves’ attack efforts, BYU held on to the set and won 25-23 to force a fourth.

    Pepperdine came out big again in the fourth set, amassing a 9-6 lead, but the opposition was quick to work back and tie the set at 15’s. Despite a 20-17 Waves’ advantage late in the set courtesy of kills and aces from Wieczorek and big blocks from Chamberlain, BYU came back to take the 25-22 set win and force a fifth.

    With the momentum in the home team’s court heading into the fifth, the Cougars broke out to a 4-1 lead early on. Although Pepperdine countered to tie the set 10-10, BYU came out of a timeout with aggressive energy and picked up a 15-11 set win to complete the reverse sweep.

    Pepperdine Logo NEXT UP

    The Waves continue life on the road with a match-up at Stanford in Palo Alto on Saturday at 7 p.m. Follow the Waves on Facebook and Twitter, @PeppVolleyball, and follow the team on Instagram, @PepperdineWaves. Get all the most recent schedules, results and more on www.PepperdineWaves.com.


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