BYU Downs Pacific 3-1 Behind Stellar Hitting
PROVO, Utah — No. 11 BYU women's volleyball beat the Pacific Tigers 3-1 (22-25, 25-11, 25-12, 25-20) in a conference matchup at the Smith Fieldhouse on Saturday.
Five BYU players had at least five kills in the match, as McKenna Miller (18), Madelyn Robinson (12), Heather Gneiting (9), Taylen Ballard-Nixon (9) and Kennedy Eschenberg (5) mounted a balanced offensive attack.
The team also held the Tigers to a .146 hitting percentage, while BYU hit an excellent .395 on the day. The Cougars had 14 team blocks, including Eschenberg with nine, while Mary Lake added 16 digs.
"We bounced back well after that first set and started executing better," BYU head coach Heather Olmstead said. "Whitney set a great match and got all of our hitters involved. Mary set the tone defensively and dug a bunch of good balls."
The Cougars led early in the first set behind a balanced attack that featured five different players with a kill in the early going. Pacific clawed its way back to tie the set at 18 before pulling away to win the first set, 25-22. Despite hitting .500 as a team, the Cougars also allowed a .500 hitting percentage. Miller had six kills on six swings.
The Cougars stormed out of the gate in the second set, quickly taking an 10-4 lead. Miller continued her perfect hitting, getting kills on all of her first nine attempts. The Cougars hit .640 as a team in the set, tied for the ninth-best hitting percentage in a set in rally era program history. Three kills from Gneiting on BYU's final four points of the set put it away for BYU, 25-11.
BYU continued its dominant attack, getting out to a 10-5 lead behind kills from Miller and Robinson. Pacific could not keep up with the Cougar attack as BYU surged to a 19-10 lead. BYU’s defense held the Tigers to a -.062 hitting on the set. Miller threw down back-to-back kills to make the lead 23-12, before putting the Tigers away with a kill to make the final score, 25-12.
The fourth set was tight early, as the Cougars clung to a 5-4 lead before their offense took control. BYU went on a 9-2 run to make the score 14-6 before Pacific went on an 8-2 run of its own to battle back at 16-14. A block by Miller and Gneiting made it 22-15, and also tied Miller’s career high in blocks in a match with five. The Tigers fought back, but BYU would not let up, winning the final set off a kill by Miller to make the final score 25-20.
BYU returns to action on Thursday, Nov. 7, to take on Santa Clara at the Leavey Event Center. The match will be broadcast on the WCC Network.
No. 11 Cougars Host Saint Mary's and Pacific
PROVO, Utah – Returning to the Smith Fieldhouse this week, the No. 11 BYU women's volleyball team will host Saint Mary's on Thursday, Oct. 31, at 7 p.m. MT and Pacific on Saturday, Nov. 2, at 1 p.m. MT.
The game against the Gaels will air live on the BYUtv app while the Saturday contest against the Tigers will be shown live on BYUtv and the BYUtv app.
The Cougars (18-3, 9-1 WCC) swept both teams on the road earlier this year. BYU has an 11-match win streak against Saint Mary's (8-12, 4-6), including 9-0 under head coach Heather Olmstead. Against Pacific (12-10, 4-6), BYU has a 15-match wins streak dating back to 1996 and is also 9-0 under Olmstead. The Cougars have not lost a set to the Tigers since 2015, a streak of 27-straight sets won.
Winners of 12 of their last 13 matches, the Cougars continue to be led by senior outside McKenna Miller who claimed her third WCC Player of the Week award of the year on Monday after averaging 4.71 kills per set in BYU's wins over LMU and Pepperdine.
As a team, the Cougars are ranked 26th in the nation with a .265 hitting percentage while ranking 38th on the defensive side, holding opponents to a .167 percentage.
Fans coming early to the Fieldhouse on Thursday can also attend the BYU Athletics Trunk or Treat where Cougar student-athletes will be handing out candy in the parking lot just north of the Fieldhouse. The match will also be Stranger Things Night, including a costume contest from the hit Netflix series.
Saturday will be family day with a variety of pregame activities along with a $1 hot dog special.