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.
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.