Cougars Come up Short Against #16 Marquette
PROVO – No. 9 BYU women’s volleyball fell to No. 16 Marquette in the concluding match of the BYU Nike Invitational on Saturday night in four sets (25-22, 25-16, 25-22, 25-12).
“It’s always good to get tested early and see where we are and we had a taste of that tonight,” BYU head coach Heather Olmstead said. “We’re excited to get back to the gym next week and continue to work to get better.”
Sophomore outside hitter Madelyn Robinson recorded a career high 18 kills in front of a crowd of 4,075, the 11th highest home attendance in program history. Senior McKenna Miller also contributed with 10 kills.
Taylen Ballard-Nixon and Kennedy Eschenberg represented the Cougars on the BYU Nike Invitational All-Tournament Team which also included UVU's Kanza Tarawhiti, Boise State's Janell Walley, and Marquette's Hope Werch, Allie Barber and the MVP of the weekend, Kaitlyn Lines.
BYU (2-1) and Marquette (3-0) battled back and forth in a tightly contested first set. Neither team was able to grab momentum early, with the Golden Eagles’ 6-3 lead being the largest in the early stages of the set. The Cougars battled back behind five kills from Miller on seven attempts. BYU was down 21-19 late, but two kills from Ballard-Nixon gave the Cougars a chance to come back. A block by Heather Gneiting and Ballard-Nixon ultimately gave BYU the win at 25-22.
Neither the Cougars nor the Golden Eagles could gain an edge in the beginning, with both teams tied, 5-5. The Golden Eagles began to build momentum as Marquette went on a run to take a 19-10 lead. BYU showed some fight before falling 25-16. Robinson, who hadn't recorded a kill in the Cougars' first two matches, had eight in the second set alone for BYU.
In a set that featured multiple lead changes, the Cougars were up from the early going, taking an 8-5 lead behind three more kills from Robinson. The two squads were tied 19-19 late before BYU fell, 25-22.
BYU started the set 3-0 before allowing a 5-0 run to Marquette. The Cougars were able to tie the score at 10-10 before the Golden Eagles began to pull away, winning the final set, 25-12.
BYU returns to action against Long Island University on Thursday, Sept. 5, at 7:00 p.m. MDT in its first match of the BYU Doterra Classic. The match will be broadcast on the WCC Network.
Boise State vs. Utah Valley
In the first game of the day, Boise State defeated Utah Valley in four sets (25-21, 27-25, 26-28, 25-14). The Broncos’ Lauren Ohlinger and the Wolverines’ Kazna Tarawhiti each had 18 kills to lead their teams as Boise State finished the Invitational with a 3-1 record while UVU went 0-3.
Season Opens Friday at Home for Cougars
PROVO — No. 9 BYU women's volleyball will begin the 2019 season by hosting Boise State, No. 16 Marquette and Utah Valley in the BYU Nike Invitational starting Friday, Aug. 30.
The Cougars will first face Boise State at noon MT on Friday in Provo at the Smith Fieldhouse before playing their second match of the day against Utah Valley at 7:30 p.m. MT. BYU will then play Marquette on Saturday, Aug. 31, at 7 p.m. MT. All three games will be televised live on BYUtv.
BYU is a combined 25-0 against its three upcoming visitors, including 8-0 versus Boise State, 14-0 versus Utah Valley and 3-0 versus Marquette.
The Broncos placed fifth last year in the Mountain West Conference, going 18-11 overall.
Blending the old and the new, this year's BYU team returns a core of four All-Americans, including middles Kennedy Eschenberg and Heather Gneiting, outside hitter McKenna Miller and libero Mary Lake. They are joined by six returners and eight newcomers, including seven true freshmen.
Ranked ninth in the country and picked to finish first in the West Coast Conference, the Cougars are looking to win a sixth-straight WCC title and make another run in the NCAA Tournament a year removed from an NCAA Semifinal appearance.
Heather Olmstead returns for her fifth season as head coach at BYU after winning AVCA National Coach of the Year honors in 2018.