Rachel Dyer put down 10 winners on 12 swings with no errors to tie for the sixth-best match hitting percentage in BYU history at .833. (Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)
LARAMIE -- Mountain West Conference play started with a victory for the No. 24 BYU women’s volleyball team as the Cougars recorded a sweep (25-14, 25-19, 27-25) of Wyoming Thursday night. With the win, BYU is now 8-2 on the year.
“This is a really good win for us,” said BYU head coach Shay Goulding. “We did it in three sets, and we got a lot of contributions from a lot of different players. It’s really not just winning but how we win that’s important, and we did a good job of controlling the match.”
Senior Rachel Dyer and junior Kayla Walker led the way for BYU with 10 kills each. Dyer put down her 10 winners on 12 swings with no errors to tie for the sixth-best match hitting percentage in BYU history at .833. Junior Morgan Lloyd paced the Cougars with 13 kills while senior Bryn Porter added 12 and Melissa Lake posted 10. BYU tallied nine aces in the contest, including the match-winner from Lloyd, as she and Dyer each recorded three.
The Cougars dominated from start to finish in set one with an incredible offensive performance. Five Cougars racked up kills in the first seven BYU points as the Cougars began the match hitting at a blistering .600 pace. After an early 5-5 tie, a 10-3 run established control for BYU. From there, the Cougars sprinted to the finish for a 25-14 victory. Six players recorded kills for BYU in a balanced attack while the Cougar defense held the Cowgirls to just .061 hitting in the set.
Set two looked to be a repeat performance as the Cougars ran out to an 8-1 lead with a 7-0 run on the serve of Dyer. The advantage stayed in BYU’s favor to a 16-8 score, and the set looked to be well in hand. However, the Cowgirls slowly began to find momentum with a 7-1 run that cut the advantage to just two points at 17-15. But too many Wyoming errors combined with too much BYU firepower prevented the Cowgirls from completing the comeback. After seeing their lead all but disappear, the Cougars responded with four straight points, including back-to-back aces from Kiana Rogers, to go up 21-15. From there, the two teams traded points until BYU secured the 25-19 win.
Sensing victory, the Cougars once again started strong in set three, jumping out to a 6-2 lead. The advantage grew to 17-9 with solid play all the way around. With the Cougars up 19-13 and on the way to victory, Goulding elected to go to her bench as junior Marisa Boaz made her season debut and redshirt freshman Casey Speredon made her BYU debut. The Cowgirls capitalized on the line up changes and subsequent adjustments and cut the last to just three points at 19-16. BYU pushed back to get to match point 24-21, but the Cowgirls weren’t done on their home floor as they fought off three match points to knot the score at 24-24 and send the set into extra play. However, two points later with the score tied at 25-25, Walker came up with a kill to give BYU another chance and Lloyd made good with a service ace to seal the match.
“It’s good to get everyone some playing experience,” said Goulding. “You never know who you’re going to have to rely on, so it’s good that everyone has some conference playing experience now.”
BYU will next be in action on Saturday in an MWC showdown at No. 15 Colorado State. The match will begin at 7 p.m. and can be heard live on BYU Radio.
Fans can join the official BYU Women’s Volleyball Texting Group by texting “WVB” to 83043. Members of the group will get updates about game times and special promotions.