Still Perfect: No. 2/2 Grand Canyon sweeps No. 6/8 BYU to remain undefeated

Photo courtesy of Grand Canyon athletics

So much for the talk about No. 2/2 Grand Canyon not being tested.

Grand Canyon remained the only undefeated team in the nation as it swept No. 6/8 BYU 34-32, 25-23, 25-23 on Friday in Provo, Utah.

The Antelopes (10-0, 1-0 MPSF) had two players with double-digit kills en route to their first of the season against a top-10 ranked team.

Middle attacker Rico Wardlow had 10 kills and one error on a match-best .643 attack Wardlow also had a kill and a block on back-to-back plays late in the first-game overtime, and then nearly delivered a game-winning ace on a play that eventually resulted in an Antelopes block to end the overtime.

Opposite Camden Gianni added both a team-high 12 kills and two aces in the opener of this two-match conference series.

Grand Canyon finished with 11 blocks – five more blocks than BYU (9-4, 0-1 MPSF).


Middle attacker Cameron Thorne led all players with seven blocks, including having three blocks in the final game. Gianni and setter Nicolas Slight each contributed four blocks as all six of Grand Canyon’s starters had multiple blocks against BYU.

Grand Canyon libero Cooper Herndon defensively also had a match-high 12 digs.

Despite the loss, BYU out-hit Grand Canyon .225 to .223 and limited the Antelopes to a match-worst .108 attack percentage in the opening game.

BYU outside attacker Luke Benson finished with a match-high 13 kills, while opposite Miks Ramanis contributed 12 kills. Both Benson and Ramanis, though, were held to less than a .200 attack percentage.

Middle attacker Teon Taylor had nine kills and zero errors on a match-best .643 attack percentage in front of a home crowd of 3,944 people.

Grand Canyon overcame a four-point deficit early in the third game to complete the road sweep.

BYU after fighting off one match-point had a chance to extend the match into overtime. Despite Ramanis forcing Grand Canyon’s offense out of system with a serve, Karter Rogers was able to deliver the match-winning kill.

Gianni had a game-high five kills in the second game, including a kill with the score tied 23-23 to create a game-point. Wardlow and Rogers had a block on the following play to close out the game and prevent another overtime.

BYU in the first game fought off three game-points to force the overtime session. In addition, Kupono Browne had an ace on the first point in overtime to extend the Cougars run to 4-0 and set up a game-point for BYU.

The Cougars, though, were unable to convert on five game-point opportunities in the overtime. The Antelopes had three failed game-points in the overtime before Slight delivered a game-winning solo block.

The 18-point overtime also featured the Antelopes receiving a yellow card for arguing with the officials after the Cougars were awarded a point on a play when the ball got stuck in the Smith Fieldhouse rafters.