Flu-ridden No. 13 Loyola too hot for No. 3 BYU in season opener

The flu definitely did not keep No. 13 Loyola down.

Loyola overcame seven of its players competing with flu-like symptoms and upset No. 3 BYU 25-22, 21-25, 25-20, 23-25, 15-12 in both teams’ season-opener Friday in Provo, Utah.

Opposite Dane Leclair inserted into the starting lineup because of injury and illness led the Ramblers with a career-high 15 kills on a .538 attack percentage. He also added seven blocks in the non-conference victory.

Freshman setter Garrett Zolg guided the Ramblers’ offense to out-hit the Cougars .339 to .221, including Loyola having a match-best .423 attack percentage in the opening game.

Loyola did not commit more than four attack errors in any game and finished with 14 fewer attack errors than BYU. In addition, three starters ended the match with one or zero attack errors.

Middle attacker Paul Narup had 12 kills and zero attack errors while hitting a match-best .857. Leclair had one error, while Preseason All-American middle attacker Jeff Jendryk contributed six kills and one attack error.

Jendryk, Leclair and Narup all also had at least seven blocks as Loyola out-blocked BYU 16.5 to 10.

BYU opposite Gabi Garcia Fernandez making his college debut had a match-high 23 kills. The freshman arrived to BYU after he played for Puerto Rico and was among the tournament leaders in kills at the 2017 FIVB U19 World Championship.

With this victory, Loyola has beaten BYU in back-to-back seasons and now has won four of the last five meetings. The last program besides Loyola to beat the BYU two consecutive times in regular season non-conference matches was Ohio State in 2000.