Clutch serving from Fernandez lifts No. 2/2 BYU past No. 3/3 UC Santa Barbara

Photo courtesy of BYU athletics

Even during his worst offensive performance of the season, opposite Gabi Garcia Fernandez delivered from the service line in the biggest moments for No. 2/2 BYU.

Fernandez had a game-winning ace in a fourth-game overtime to force a fifth game and then had the match-winning ace in the decisive game as BYU defeated No. 3/3 UC Santa Barbara 23-25, 25-22, 20-25, 28-26, 15-11 on Saturday in Provo, Utah.

The Preseason All-American, who entered the weekend averaging a nation-best 1.00 aces per game, led all players with four aces to help the Cougars complete the two-match non-conference series sweep. This was the sixth consecutive match that Fernandez had multiple aces.


UC Santa Barbara limited Fernandez to a season-low .095 attack percentage and in the first two games held him to four kills. Fernandez after having 18 kills and zero errors on a .529 attack percentage in the series opener Friday finished with finished the series finale with 12 kills.

Fernandez also had a kill and a block as part of a 7-0 run midway through the decisive fifth game that helped the Cougars secure the win and remain undefeated.

Outside attacker Zach Echeinberg led BYU with 12 kills while hitting .333, and middle attacker Felipe de Brito Ferreira had nine kills on a .467 attack percentage. Outside attacker Davide Gardini contributed 12 kills against the Gauchos.

Despite the loss, UC Santa Barbara out-hit BYU .283 to .201 and had four players end with double-digit kills.

Outside attacker Randy DeWeese finished with a match-high 19 kills and added seven blocks. In addition, middle attacker Keenan Sanders for the second consecutive match did not commit an error and had 10 kills on a .556 attack percentage.

Setter Casey McGarry along with guiding the Gauchos offense led all players with 17 digs.