No. 9 BYU Defeats Utah Valley
PROVO – No. 9 BYU women's volleyball claimed its second sweep of the day Friday night, defeating Utah Valley (25-21, 25-21, 25-20) in front of 2,887 fans.
Junior Taylen Ballard-Nixon had a career-high 12 kills at a .435 percentage. Senior McKenna Miller also had 12 kills while junior Kennedy Eschenberg added 11 for BYU (2-0).
"We did a good job problem solving tonight," BYU head coach Heather Olmstead said. "Overall, we passed well and that helped us offensively. I loved the way Taylen and Kennedy played; they were fearless when we needed it. "
The Cougars created a six-point lead at 14-8 after back-to-back kills by Eschenberg. But UVU battled back, taking a 21-20 lead. The Cougars answered with five answered points with kills by Eschenberg, Miller and Eschenberg again before Whitney Bower finished the set with an ace.
The set went back and forth with eight ties in the frame overall. Besides an early 4-1 BYU lead, neither team led by more than two points the rest of the set. BYU finally scored three of the last four points, including two kills by Heather Gneiting, to finally win it by a 25-21 score.
UVU jumped out to a 6-2 lead before the Cougars tied things up at 7-7 on a Ballard-Nixon kill. With the score tied again at 13-13, BYU scored six straight behind Mary Lake's serve to take a 19-13 lead. A final block by Miller, Eschenberg and Kate Grimmer finished off the Wolverines.
BYU will face No. 16 Marquette on Saturday, Aug. 31, at 7 p.m. MT in its final match of the BYU Nike Invitational.
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.