Second-ranked BYU made it an anticlimactic, quick night in the first of two marquee men’s volleyball matchups against No. 1 Hawaii, sweeping the Rainbow Warriors 25-15, 25-17, 25-20 tonight at the Stan Sheriff Center.
With junior opposite Gabi Garcia Fernandez setting the tone with his blistering serves, the Cougars (17-0) beat their 12th ranked opponent of the season and set a UH opponent record for hitting percentage, .603, in front of a season-high 6,143.
They snapped the 25-match home win streak of UH (14-1), which suffered its first sweep loss at home since facing BYU in 2016. It was the Cougars’ fourth straight win of the series in Honolulu, and they avenged a UH sweep in Provo last year.
BYU committed just five attack errors. The previous record for UH opponent hitting percentage was .537 by Pepperdine in 2008.
UH’s primary weapons, opposite Rado Parapunov and hitter Colton Cowell, struggled all night and had nearly as many combined errors as kills for most of the match, finishing with 11 errors and 19 kills.
Fernandez, meanwhile, sizzled from all spots on the floor, putting down 13 kills on 16 swings and serving up eight aces, one off the BYU record.
The teams rematch at 7 p.m. Friday. That one is nearly sold out.
The Cougars came out with a purpose, while the Warriors appeared to sleepwalk through Set 1 in their first official match at the Sheriff since facing UC Irvine on Feb. 8. BYU hit .706 in the frame to UH’s .000 and took it going away. It was the first official set dropped at home by the ’Bows this season, and the most lopsided score in a lost set home or away.
UH rose to the challenge in Set 2. A block by Parapunov and Guilherme Voss — UH’s first of the match — gave the hosts their first lead all night at 9-8. But it would not last, as BYU surged back and forced a timeout leading 18-14. The Cougars outscored the Warriors 7-3 from there, capped with Fernandez’s fourth ace of the night.
The Warriors went up early in Set 3. But the Cougars surged back, going up 13-8 on three consecutive aces by Fernandez. BYU extended its lead to 20-13 on another kill by Fernandez.