PROVO, Utah – The blue BYU women's volleyball squad beat white 3-1 (21-25, 25-12, 25-22, 25-22) Saturday afternoon at the Smith Fieldhouse to kick off the 2016 season.
“I thought we saw a lot of good things today,” BYU head coach Heather Olmstead said. “I thought our block and block touches were really good, and some of our defensive efforts behind the block were also good. Our serving at times was great - same thing with our passing.”
Freshman McKenna Miller contributed a team-high 17 kills while hitting at a .309 clip. Veronica Jones-Perry added 15 kills and 17 digs and Emily Lewis collected 11 kills. Defensively, freshman Mary Lake had a team-high 24 digs and Makenna Santiago and Jaiden Kaka each added 20. Lyndie Haddock collected 37 assists and Alohi Robins-Hardy had 27. Whitney Young Howard added a team-high 12 blocks while collecting eight kills. Amy Boswell added 12 kills of her own while hitting at a .417 clip.
The white Cougars got off to a 3-1 lead in set one after a pair of blue squad errors. The score quickly tightened up as a Lewis ace gave the blue Cougars their first lead of the set at 9-8. The blue squad went up by as many as four points at 15-11 before a pair of Robins-Hardy aces and a Miller kill evened the score at 15 apiece. Howard then took control of the set for the white team, collecting three blocks, two kills and an ace down the stretch as white won the set 25-21.
A Howard kill helped the blue Cougars double up on the white squad early in the second set, 10-5. A Boswell kill and Jones-Perry ace then helped the blue team take a 14-8 advantage, forcing the white Cougars to take a timeout. A Boswell ace kept the blue squad ahead 17-9 and another pair of Howard blocks gave blue a double-digit lead at 21-11. A service error ended the set as the blue Cougars won 25-12.
With just the setters switched in set three, the two squads got off to an even start as back-to-back Lewis kills knotted up the score at 6-all. The score remained tight until a Howard and Cosy Burnett block, Miller kill and Robins-Hardy ace gave the blue team a 16-13 edge. Still trailing by three, the white team was fueled by a 5-1 run to take the lead 20-19. The blue Cougars remained in the set, however, retaking the advantage and set 25-22 after a Robins-Hardy kill.
Howard collected a pair of kills for the white team to begin the fourth set with the score tied at 4-4. A pair of Danelle Parady-Stetler kills then helped white on a 4-1 run to tie the set at 9 apiece. Miller added four kills for the white team to keep things tied at 16-16, but a 4-0 blue squad run ensued as the blue Cougars went up 20-16. After trailing by six at 22-16, the white Cougars rallied to come within a point at 23-22, but it wasn’t enough as the blue squad took the set and match 25-23 on a Boswell and Hannah Robison block.
The Cougars officially begin the season Friday, Aug. 26, at 7 p.m. MDT when they host in-state rival Utah Valley in the BYU Invitational. The match will be broadcast live on BYUtv and simulcast on BYU Radio – Sirius XM 143. Links to live stats and video/audio feeds can be found on the BYU women’s volleyball schedule page.