BYU left the brooms on the bus on Friday, but beat Penn State in five sets (25-22, 25-27, 28-26, 19-25, 15-13) on Friday evening.
BYU visited the Nittany Lions in State College in BYU’s first road game of the season. The Cougars started slow in the first set, but eventually tied the set up at 14. The Cougars only trailed one more time in the set, despite a below average .276 hitting percentage. The Cougars would go on to win the set 25-22.
In the second set, the Cougars came out strong, and found themselves up 16-10. However, Penn State rallied and tied things up at 19, at which point the Cougars and Nittany Lions began trading points. The Cougars, who hit an impressive .484 in the second set, couldn’t find a way to finish the set, and lost in a 25-27 battle.
The third set was extremely competitive, as neither team could extend a large lead. The Cougars led at one point by a score of 13-8, but Penn State came roaring back. The Cougars thought they had lost the set by a score of 25-23, but the officials reviewed a potential floor touch, and overturned the call. With the score at 24-24, the Cougars and Nittany Lions again traded points, until the Cougars finally won on their first set point by a score of 28-26, with Davide Gardini finishing the set for the Cougars.
Early in the fourth set, the Cougars found themselves down 8-4, but managed to tie things up at 11. The Cougars would then trade points again with the Nittany Lions, but after tying up at 15, Penn state went on a 10-4 run to win the set and force a fifth.
The fifth set opened up with five errors between the two teams in the first six serves, including two service errors by the Cougars. The teams continued to trade points back and forth in an extremely competitive set. The Cougars created a small gap at 9-6, only for the Nittany Lions to respond with a 3-0 run. Gabi Garcia Fernandez got hot, but BYU and Penn State again traded points until 13-13, when BYU finished the match and won the set by a final score of 15-13, with Felipe de Brito Ferreira blocking a final attack by the Nittany Lions.
The fourth-ranked Cougars improve to 3-0 on the season. The Cougars were led by Fernandez’s 27 kills, and Gardini added on 17 more. Wil Stanley had an incredible 53 assists, and Ferreira protected the net with seven blocks on the night for the Cougars. BYU had a good turnout of fans at the match, despite the small attendance. The Cougars travel west in Pennsylvania to Loretto to face Saint Francis University on Saturday morning at 9 am MST. The game can be watched on necfrontrow.com.