(Photo by BYU Photo/Jaren Wilkey)
PROVO, Utah – Double-digit kills from Veronica Jones-Perry and Amy Boswell led No. 13 seed BYU women’s volleyball to a sweep (25-23, 25-21, 25-12) over UNLV Saturday night at the Smith Fieldhouse to advance to the NCAA regional semifinals for the fifth year in a row.
"Congrats to UNLV on a great match and a great season," BYU head coach Heather Olmstead said. "It was a good opportunity for us to play them early in the season and then again today. We just played point for point. That first set was a battle. I was super proud of our team for being resiliant. Good things started happening, the crowd gave us some momentum and we started making great plays."
For the second time this season, BYU (29-3, 16-2 West Coast Conference) defeated UNLV (24-8, 12-6 Mountain West Conference) in a three-set victory. The Cougars out-hit the Rebels .286 to .160 in the match. For the first time since 2012, BYU swept both of its opponents in the first two rounds of the NCAA tournament.
Jones-Perry led the team with 17 kills and had an ace. On a .444 clip, Boswell had 14 kills and two blocks. Off the bench, Alohi Robins-Hardy had a double-double with 46 assists and 12 kills. Mary Lake anchored the defense with 23 digs.
The beginning of the first set was all UNLV as the Rebels jumped out to a 9-1 lead, their strong block keeping back the Cougars’ attack. A few kills from Lacy Haddock and strong defense from the back row propelled BYU to four-straight points, cutting the deficit to 11-7. After trading points back and forth, the Cougars went on a 5-1 run behind a pair of kills for both Jones-Perry and Haddock to tie the set 16-16. Danelle Parady-Stetler subbed in late in the set, earning three of four unanswered points for BYU from the outside, taking the 22-19 lead. The Rebels fought back, but with a kill to the deep corner from Jones-Perry, the Cougars took the set 25-23.
Jones-Perry came out strong in the second set, killing the ball for three of BYU’s first five points, putting the home team up 5-2 early. UNLV rallied to tie the game 10-10 before Whitney Young Howard killed the ball to the right corner to get back the advantage. Two kills and a joust victory from Howard gave the Cougars a two-point lead, 18-16. Boswell caught fire toward the end of the set with three well-placed kills down the stretch, including a tip to the corner that made it 23-20 in BYU’s favor. Parady-Stetler sealed the 25-20 win with a kill to go up two sets to none.
For the first time in the match, BYU scored the first point, scoring two in a row to start the third set. The Cougars then went on a 5-0 run behind three kills from Haddock to push the lead to 7-1. BYU continued to be aggressive to push away from UNLV. A balanced attack from Howard, Jones-Perry and Haddock got the Cougars on a 5-1 run, taking a commanding 14-5 lead. BYU never let up, taking an 18-7 double-digit lead on three-unanswered points, capped off with a tool from Haddock. Howard completed the sweep for the Cougars with a kill to take the third set 25-12.
With the win, BYU advances to the NCAA regional semifinals to face No. 4 seed Texas in Austin. Broadcast details and live stats can be found on the BYU women's volleyball schedule page when they become available.