Opposite Gabi Garcia Fernandez and BYU left no doubt about who is the best team in the nation.
Fernandez finished with both a match-high eight aces and 13 kills on a .688 attack percentage as No. 2/1 BYU swept No. 1/2 Hawaii 25-16, 25-17, 25-20 on Thursday in Honolulu.
The Cougars finished with a season-high .603 attack percentage in the non-conference match-up between the last two remaining undefeated teams in the nation. This offensive performance was the second-best single-match attack percentage for BYU during the rally scoring era and the school’s best single-match attack percentage during the 25-point rally scoring era.
Setter Wil Stanley making his return to his home state guided the offense to hit .694 in the opening two games. In addition, the Cougars committed a season-low five attack errors and no player had more than two errors.
Along with Fernandez, outside attacker Davide Gardini had 10 kills while hitting a team-best .750. Outside attacker Zach Eschenberg added 10 kills on a .500 attack percentage.
Gardini and Stanley each also contributed an ace as BYU finished with 10 aces — six more aces than the Rainbow Warriors.
Hawai’i in its first loss of the season had a .255 attack percentage, including hitting .556 in the final game.
Opposite Rado Parapunov led the Rainbow Warriors with 10 kills, while outside attacker Colton Cowell had nine kills. Both players, though, finished with less than a .200 attack percentage.
Despite being out-hit in the third game, BYU had five aces to help ensure the sweep.
Fernandez had three consecutive aces to give the Cougars a 13-8 lead in the third game. He also had his final ace late in the game to give BYU a seven-point lead.
The Cougars midway through the second game used a 5-1 run to eliminate a one-point deficit. Fernandez during that run had an ace and then contributed back-to-back kills.
Hawai’i late in that game was unable to play an overpass on a serve as the ball land on its side of the court for a BYU point to extend the Cougars lead to 23-17. In addition, Fernandez two plays later had a game-winning ace to give the BYU a two-game lead.
In the opening game, BYU with Fernandez at the service line jumped out to a 6-1 run. The Cougars finished the game hitting .706 and did not commit an attack error.
Jauhiainen had a game-high four blocks and contributed to holding the Rainbow Warriors to a zero attack percentage in the 10-point opening-game win.
This victory ends the Rainbow Warriors’ 25-match home winning streak that dated back to 2018. BYU also is the first team to sweep Hawai’i at the Stan Sheriff Center since it pulled off the feat in March 2016.
The Cougars will attempt to complete the two-match series sweep as the teams play in their series finale on Friday. Hawai’i has not been swept in a two-match home series since losing twice to BYU in 2016.