MILWAUKEE, Wis. – Roni Jones-Perry and No. 3 BYU women’s volleyball beat No. 25 Marquette in four sets (23-25, 25-22, 25-20, 25-14) Saturday night at the Al McGuire Center in the Cougars’ final match of the Marquette Invitational.
“We showed some nice composure losing the first set and being down in the second set,” BYU head coach Heather Olmstead said. “Kennedy (Eschenberg) had a few big-time blocks that really changed the momentum. I'm proud of the team for fighting the entire match.”
Jones-Perry led the Cougars with 23 kills, three aces and seven digs. Lyndie Haddock-Eppich set the team with 56 assists while Mary Lake added 26 digs. Kennedy Eschenberg put up eight blocks. McKenna Miller chipped in 16 kills on a .438 clip and Heather Gneiting hit .571 to go with nine kills in the win.
Kills by Miller and Jones-Perry helped BYU (8-0) collect the first two points of the match. Marquette (6-2) quickly jumped ahead 6-4 after a kill, but the Cougars stormed ahead at 11-8 after a 5-1 run. BYU led by four, 17-13, after a Golden Eagle attack error, but Marquette got within one following three-straight points. A Gneiting and Miller block pushed the Cougars back in front 21-18, but the Golden Eagles countered with a 5-0 run to take a 23-21 edge. Marquette then won the close set 25-23 on a kill.
Fueled by an 8-2 run, the Golden Eagles went up 8-4 to start the second set. A Miller kill kept BYU within striking distance, trailing 11-7. Marquette stayed in front at 16-10 after a block, but a 6-2 Cougar rally brought BYU within two at 18-16. Kills from Jones-Perry and Eschenberg eventually evened things up at 22-all, forcing a Golden Eagle timeout. The Cougars then went in front, winning the set 25-22 after two kills from Miller and a Jones-Perry ace.
A 4-1 BYU run helped the Cougars take a 5-4 advantage at the beginning of the third set. The teams stayed close as a Haddock-Eppich kill made it 9-9. A Jones-Perry kill kept BYU in front of the closely-contested set 15-14, and a Gneiting ace made it 21-18. Miller ended the set 25-20 with a kill.
The Cougars jumped ahead 7-2 to start the fourth set following a solo block from Eschenberg. Back-to-back Miller kills made it 11-5, and consecutive Eschenberg blocks pushed BYU in front 18-10. Mary Lake had two kills in a row before a final kill from Jones-Perry ended the set and match 25-14.
At the conclusion of the match, Jones-Perry and Haddock-Eppich were named to the all-tournament team and Jones-Perry was named the Most Valuable Player of the invitational.
The Cougars return home to the Smith Fieldhouse next, facing Utah in the Deseret First Duel Thursday, Sept. 13, at 7 p.m. MDT. The match will be televised on BYUtv and a link to live stats can be found on the BYU women’s volleyball schedule page.
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