PROVO, Utah – Blue defeated white 3-1 (24-26, 25-22, 25-18, 25-22) Saturday afternoon at the Smith Fieldhouse as No. 11 BYU women’s volleyball scrimmaged in public for the first time this season.
“This was very similar to what we’ve been doing at practice,” BYU head coach Heather Olmstead said. “I don’t really see a difference except that they’re putting on a uniform and playing in front of people. There may have been some jitters there in that first set for some of the freshmen, but I thought overall the girls found some energy and focused on getting better.”
Alexa Gray led the team in kills with 26 while Cosy Burnett contributed 14 of her own to go along with a team-high seven blocks. Whitney Young Howard added four blocks and five kills and Amy Boswell had 10 kills, four blocks and two aces. Danelle Parady contributed 15 kills and Veronica Jones added 12.
Alohi Robins-Hardy started the first set off with a service ace to give the white squad a 1-0 advantage. Down 3-2, the blue team used a 4-0 rally, fueled by a pair of Gray kills, to take a 6-3 lead. The blue Cougars stayed ahead in the match until back-to-back blocks from Burnett and Howard tied the set at 12-all. Another pair of Gray kills quickly helped her blue squad take a 16-12 advantage, forcing the white Cougars to take a timeout. The blue team maintained the lead until consecutive Burnett kills evened the score at 23 apiece. Parady gave her white squad a 26-24 set one win after a pair of straight kills.
The second set began much like the first with the blue squad jumping out to a 6-2 lead with the help of four Gray kills. Back-to-back Burnett kills kept the white team in the set, down 6-4. Later, three blocks and a kill from Sophie Cram tied the score back up at 12-all. An errant attack from Gray gave the white squad its first advantage, 13-12, but a Boswell and Camry Godfrey Willardson block kept the blue team in control, up 17-14. Consecutive kills from white’s Parady knotted the score again at 18, and the score remained within two points until the end of the set when Gray ended it for the blue team 25-22.
The third set began with the white squad in control, going up 8-3 on consecutive blue team errors, forcing a timeout. The blue team persevered, using a 9-2 run, capped off by a Burnett kill, to take its first lead of the set at 12-11. The squads stayed close throughout the rest of the set with the white team staying within three, down 20-17. From there, multiple white errors gave the blue team the set 25-18.
The blue squad came out firing to start the fourth set, going up 5-1 with the help of a pair of Burnett and Gray kills. Parady helped keep the white team in the match, down five at 11-6, with a couple of kills. After a white timeout, a 6-2 scoring streak ensued, bringing the white squad within two, down 15-13. A block from Parady and Madeline Graham tied the set for the first time, 18-18. The white squad couldn’t capitalize on its momentum, however, as three kills from Jones helped propel the team to a 25-22 set four win.
“We have plenty of girls ready to step up and fill holes from last year,” Olmstead said. “We’ll just keep practicing on getting better for next week and see who’s playing well by Friday.”
The Cougars return to action next Friday, Aug. 28, at 5 p.m. PDT, in the season opener against Chicago State, opening up play at the Women of Troy Baden Invitational at USC. Links to live stats and a video feed can be found on the BYU women’s volleyball schedule page.