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BYU Volleyball hosts BYU Invite, wins one of three matches

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BYU Volleyball hosted Princeton, McKendree, and Hawaii in the BYU Invite from Thursday to Saturday evening at the Smith Fieldhouse.

The Cougars opened on Thursday night against Princeton, beating the Tigers in five sets(19-25, 25-14, 22-25, 25-21, 15-10). The Cougars and Tigers traded points early before the Tigers scored six straight to go up 10-5. The Cougars would rally and cut the lead to one at 12-11, but the Tigers would extend again and win the set 25-19.

The second set was dominated by the Cougars, who won 25-14. The set started with an 11-5 lead for the Cougars, and wouldn’t look back. The Cougars recorded four aces in the set to help win the set.

The third set was all Princeton, who jumped out to a 13-5 lead. The Cougars would cut the lead to two late in the set, but eventually lost 25-22. The fourth set was extremely tight, and the score was tied at 19 before the Cougars pulled away to win 25-21.

The fifth set became the Gabi Garcia Fernandez show, as Fernandez recorded seven kills in the fifth set to lead the Cougars to victory.

Friday night the Cougars hosted McKendree. Fernandez and Davide Gardini were rested for the match, and the Cougars fell to the Bearcats in four sets(25-19, 23-25, 23-25, 22-25). The Cougars won the first set, led by Branden Oberender and Alex Ah Sue. The Bearcats would win the next three sets in tight battles, however, as the Cougars dropped a home match for just the second time this season.

Saturday night BYU faced off against No. 2 Hawaii. Hawaii has been ranked second since the preseason rankings, and has been perfect on the season, winning every set in every match they’ve played this season. The Cougars challenged the Rainbow Warriors in the first set, ultimately losing 25-20.

Hawaii would control the next two sets to complete the sweep over the Cougars(20-25, 17-25, 14-25). The match was Senior Night for Taylor Richards, the lone senior for the Cougars.

The Cougars will complete their regular season by visiting Concordia-Irvine on Thursday evening and USC on Saturday. They will travel to Phoenix to play Grand Canyon on April 4 in the regular season finale.