PROVO, Utah – Behind 14 team blocks, No. 13 seed BYU women’s volleyball swept Princeton 3-0 (25-22, 25-15, 25-23) in the first round of the NCAA tournament at the Smith Fieldhouse Friday night, advancing to the second round against UNLV on Saturday night.
“I'm really happy with that match," BYU head coach Heather Olmstead said. "Congratualtions to Princeton on a great season. I'm happy with the way our team put the match together. I thought Whitney changed the momentum with a couple of blocks right in a row. I thought she intimidated them a little bit and changed the second set."
BYU (28-3, 16-2 West Coast Conference) had 14 blocks in the win, compared to just three for Princeton (19-5, 13-1 Ivy League).
Whitney Young Howard led the effort with nine kills on a .471 clip. The two senior middle blockers, Howard and Amy Boswell, had seven blocks each. Veronica Jones-Perry also had nine kills to go with her three digs and four blocks. Sophomore setter Lyndie Haddock paced the offense with 24 assists along with six digs and two blocks. Leading the defense, freshman libero Mary Lake had 16 digs, three assists and two aces.
In the first set, BYU earned four of its first six points from Princeton hitting errors, taking the early 6-3 lead. The Tigers bounced back with two-straight aces to get ahead by one, 8-7, before Lyndie Haddock dumped the ball over the net to tie it back up. Lake had back-to-back aces of her own to extend the Cougars’ lead to 14-11, forcing a Tigers timeout. Princeton went on a 4-1 run to go up 19-18, but a quick kill from Howard evened the score once again. Two-consecutive kills from Howard made it 23-21, and a kill from Boswell won the first set for BYU, 25-22.
The block got rolling for the Cougars in the second set. Boswell started it off with a block for the early 2-1 lead. After four unanswered Princeton points, McKenna Miller tooled the block to get within one, down 7-6. Howard had a hand in six points of a 7-1 Cougar run to get the team fired up. She had two solo blocks in the middle and two kills to push the lead to 15-9. Errors piled on to hurt Princeton, giving BYU four-straight points. Boswell and Miller combined for another stuff block to make it 23-15 before two Tiger hitting errors finished the second set, 25-15, for the Cougars.
Howard came out strong again in the third set, killing the ball for two of BYU’s first three points. Kills from Jones-Perry and Lacy Haddock gave the Cougars an early 5-3 lead. After the Tigers pushed back in front, Miller found the deep corner to cut the deficit to one, 9-8. BYU took back the 18-14 advantage after scoring five unanswered points, led by two kills from Jones-Perry. However, Princeton fought back, putting together runs to go up 22-21 over BYU. A Howard kill and a Tiger error put the Cougars back on top, 23-22. Howard and Jones-Perry combined for another block to make it match point, and Jones-Perry powered home a kill for the 25-23 third-set win and the sweep.
BYU is back in action Saturday night, hosting UNLV at 7 p.m. MST. The game will be televised live on BYUtv and BYUtv.org, along with audio on BYUradio.org.
UNLV vs. Utah
UNLV got the first point on the board in the first set off a botched served from Utah and the Rebels maintained a lead until the Utes tied the contest up at nine, and then later taking the lead at 12-11. Neither team took a lead of greater than two throughout the rest of the set, and UNLV was able to finish off the Utes, 27-25.
The Rebels had an edge for most of the second set and forced Utah into a timeout at 12-8. The Utes quickly put two points on the board, but UNLV kept the advantage over them, extending its large lead to six. Three fast scores for Utah gave the Utes some momentum, but it wasn't enough as the Rebels took the second set 25-21.
In the third set, Utah rallied at the beginning to take a lead over the Rebels, 11-7, and forced UNLV to take a timeout to regroup. UNLV came back with some energy, but it proved futile as Utah lengthened its advantage into another timeout at 16-10. The rest of the set was all Utah’s and it claimed the set win, 25-19.
The beginning of the fourth set was a close, with both teams trading points evenly until nearly the end of the set. UNLV took a 23-20 lead, which forced the Utes into a timeout. But two more straight points from the Rebels was all it took and UNLV claimed the set and match, 25-20.
PROVO, Utah – No. 13 seed BYU women’s volleyball will participate in the 2016 NCAA Tournament, hosting Princeton Friday night at the Smith Fieldhouse in the first round.
“I'm thrilled for the team to be able to play at home again in front of our great crowd,” BYU head coach Heather Olmstead said. “We're excited to play Princeton in the first round. We're familiar with both UNLV and Utah, but we're focused on the Tigers.”
The Cougars (27-3, 16-2 West Coast Conference) will play against Princeton in the first round and the winner will compete against the winner of the match between Utah and UNLV. BYU and Princeton will play Friday, Dec. 2, at 7 p.m. MST with Utah and UNLV facing off right before at 5 p.m. MST on Elaine Michaelis Court. The winners of each match will play Saturday at 7 p.m. MST in the second round.
BYU, Princeton, Utah and UNLV are part of the Texas Region. Saturday’s winner will advance to the regional semifinals on Dec. 9 at the University of Texas at Austin.
The Cougars are the No. 13 seed in the tournament for the second-straight season.
The last time BYU played in the NCAA tournament was in 2015, when they advanced to the regional semifinals for the fourth-straight season.
First and second round opponents
- Princeton is 19-4 on the season and finished 13-1 in the Ivy League Conference.
- BYU is a perfect 3-0 against the Tigers all-time, last winning in a neutral-site sweep in 2012.
- Princeton last participated in the NCAA tournament in 2007. This is the program’s sixth time making the tournament.
- The Tigersn are led by 3.76 kills per set from Cara Mattaliano, Jessie Harris’ 10.52 assist average, 3.71 digs per set from Kelly Matthews and Brittany Ptak’s 0.79 blocks per set.
- Utah is 20-11 on the year and carries an 11-9 Pac-12 Conference record.
- The Utes beat the Cougars at the Smith Fieldhouse in five sets earlier this year, but BYU holds a 69-30 record in the all-time series.
- Utah is led by Adora Anae’s 4.68 kills per set, 7.17 assists per set from Bailey Choy, Anae’s 3.23 digs per set and Berkeley Oblad’s 0.94 blocks per set.
- UNLV is 23-7 overall and finished 12-6 in the Mountain West Conference.
- BYU leads the overall series history 28-6, including getting a sweep at home against the Rebels earlier this year – UNLV’s first defeat of the season.
- UNLV is led by Bree Hammel’s 3.85 kills per set, 10.75 assists per set from Alexis Patterson, Carly Riehl’s 2.94 digs per set and 1.25 blocks per set from Elsa Descamps.
After getting four teams into the tournament a year ago, the WCC earned just two spots this season. BYU received the automatic bid for winning the conference and San Diego earned an at-large bid.
Seven of BYU’s opponents this season made it into the NCAA tournament. Besides league foe San Diego, LIU Brooklyn, Ohio State, Boise State, Missouri, Utah and UNLV all earned spots in the tournament. BYU is 6-2 against the teams that will play in the tournament this year.
Tickets can be purchased on the BYU ticket website, with Full Session Passes available from the $10-$15 price range for both days. Students with ROC passes can get into the match for $2. Individual day passes potentially go on sale Wednesday, Dec. 2, at 9 a.m. MST.
The Friday match between BYU and Princeton will be broadcast live on BYUtv and streamed on BYUtv.org. Should BYU advance to the second round, BYUtv would also broadcast that match. The match between UNLV and Utah on Friday will be streamed live on Campus Insiders. Should BYU fail to advance to the second round, Campus Insiders would also stream that match on its online network. The BYUtv matches will also be available to stream on ESPN3 with the WatchESPN app.