Coming off an upset over No. 12 Stanford, USC men’s volleyball had momentum going into Saturday night’s match at No. 2 BYU. However, the Cougars made short work of the Trojans in a 3-0 sweep, advancing their perfect record to 15-0 overall and 5-0 in MPSF play.
With the loss, the Trojans fall to 3-12 overall and 1-5 in conference matches, marking the program’s slowest start since the 2016 season.
The Cougars beat the Trojans in every major category — .433 to .155 in hitting percentage, 37 to 34 in kills, 14 to 6 in blocks, 24 to 18 in digs and 4 to 1 in aces. Capitalizing on the Trojans’ 21 errors, the Cougars outpaced USC with steady runs, consistency and dominance on the court.
In an early 5-2 deficit, the Trojans let the Cougars pull ahead into a comfortable 16-9 lead. Despite USC’s efforts to recover, BYU cruised through the first set.
Battling for redemption in the second set, the Trojans tied the Cougars at 11-11, until they let go of a nine-point run that allowed the Cougars to take another set.
Rebounding in the third set, the Trojans maintained a steady two-to-three point gap with the Cougars until the end. Following a stellar all-around performance at Stanford, redshirt sophomore outside/opposite hitter Billy Fauntleroy played a crucial role on the court again, leading the Trojans with 14 kills. Freshman outside hitter Adam Flood added to Fauntleroy’s efforts with seven kills.
Advancing to match point, BYU sophomore outside hitter Davide Gardini, sophomore middle blocker Branden Oberender and senior setter Wil Stanley owned the net with a big three-man block, reaching the team’s season high of 14 blocks within three sets. Gardini secured the Cougars’ victory with an explosive kill, further demonstrating his dominant presence on the court. He led the team with nine kills, a .636 hitting percentage, eight digs and two blocks.
All around, the Cougars had an impressive performance at the net, with major contributions including Oberender’s seven blocks, senior middle blocker Miki Jauhiainen’s five blocks, junior opposite hitter Gabi Garcia Fernandez’s eight kills and six blocks and sophomore opposite hitter Alex Ah Sue’s five kills and team-high hitting percentage of .714.
Although they were able to compete with the Cougars at various points in the match, the Trojans continued to permit inconsistency, the biggest obstacle of the season.
With their fifteenth consecutive win, BYU is the only undefeated MPSF team.
The Trojans will return home Saturday at 2 p.m. to face off against another top-ranked team, No. 3 UC Santa Barbara, in a non-conference match.