No. 1-ranked BYU men’s volleyball team reels in conference postseason honors

(Rick Egan | Tribune file photo) BYU’s Gabi Garcia Fernandez hits the ball as the Cougars face the Lewis Flyers at the Smith Fieldhouse in Provo, Saturday, Jan. 6, 2018.

Just like BYU swept most of its opponents this year, the Cougars also dominated the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation All-MPSF men's volleyball selections.

Leading the group, BYU junior opposite Gabi Garcia Fernandez was named the 2020 MPSF Player of the Year and coach Shawn Olmstead was named the 2020 MPSF Coach of the Year, the conference announced Thursday.

Garcia Fernandez was also one of four Cougars named to the All-MPSF First team, joining senior setter Wil Stanley, junior middle blocker Felipe de Brito Ferreira and sophomore outside hitter Davide Gardini. Senior outside hitter Zach Eschenberg was named to the All-MPSF Second Team while senior middle blocker Miki Jauhiainen received All-MPSF honorable mention honors.

Olmstead, who just completed his fifth season at the helm of men's volleyball and earned his third MPSF Coach of the Year honor, coached the Cougars to a 17-1 record for the highest winning percentage (.944) in the country and ended the shortened season No. 1 in the AVCA national poll.

The Cougars got off to their second-best start in program history and boasted a 12-1 record against ranked opponents while playing the toughest schedule in the country with a .678 cumulative opponent winning percentage. The Cougars also led the country in blocking with 2.95 blocks per set while leading the MPSF in hitting (.358), opponent hitting (.231), kills per set (12.97) and assists per set (12.14).

Garcia Fernandez, a two-time All-American and three-time All-MPSF First Team selection, averaged 5.46 points per set and .918 aces per set to lead the NCAA in both categories. With the season cut short with six regular season matches left and the postseason canceled, Garcia Fernandez still broke the BYU single-season aces record (56). The junior ended the year with 244 kills, 93 digs and 61 blocks.

This is the fifth time a BYU player has been named MPSF Player of the Year in program history.