Cougars' Run Ends in Final Four


MINNEAPOLIS - No. 4 seed BYU women’s volleyball ended its deep run in the NCAA Tournament in the Final Four to No. 1 seed Stanford (25-15, 25-15, 25-18) in the Target Center on Thursday.

Senior Roni Jones Perry recorded eight kills and nine digs, sophomore Kennedy Eschenberg had five kills and three blocks and senior Lyndie Haddock-Eppich finished with 23 assists, 10 digs, two kills and an ace for the Cougars.

Down 4-1 in the first set, BYU (31-2) went on a 7-1 run to take a 9-5 lead behind a pair of Jones-Perry kills and dump kill by Haddock-Eppich. Stanford (33-1) clawed back, tying the game at 12-12 before stringing out a run of their own to go ahead 22-13. The Cardinal claimed the set a few points later, 25-15, after hitting just .188 but totaling seven team blocks, including six by Tami Alade.

Stanford came out to a 9-5 lead, but a kill by Gneiting gave the serve back to BYU. Senior Danelle Stetler then had two aces on either side of another kill from Gneiting to tie the set up, 9-9. A 10-2 run from the Cardinal pushed Stanford ahead, 19-11, and the Cougars couldn’t come back, falling 25-15.

BYU took an 8-6 lead on a dump kill by Haddock-Eppich in set three. Stanford managed to tie the set at 9-9, but kills from Eschenberg and Stetler and an ace from Haddock-Eppich pulled BYU ahead, 12-9. But another big run, this one 10-2 by Stanford, saw the Cougars fall behind, 19-14. Stanford stayed ahead despite kills from Gneiting and Jones-Perry, winning the set and the match, 25-18.

BYU finishes the season with a .939 winning percentage, the highest in program history. Led by Olmstead, the National Coach of the Year, the team featured Heather Gneiting, the National Freshman of the Year, and six All-Americans, a program record for a season.