PROVO, Utah — No. 11 BYU women’s volleyball defeated Saint Mary’s in straight sets (25-15, 25-11, 25-13) Thursday night at the Smith Fieldhouse.
"We came out really focused tonight, especially from the service line," BYU head coach Heather Olmstead said. "Whitney (Bower) did a great job spreading the offense and getting lots of different people involved."
Senior McKenna Miller posted a team-high 13 kills, hitting .619 with no errors and adding two blocks for BYU (19-3, 10-1 WCC). Sophomore Heather Gneiting totaled nine kills on a season-high .727 hitting percentage along with five blocks and two digs.
Junior Taylen Ballard-Nixon had five kills and tied a career high with three aces and three blocks, while freshman Whitney Bower recorded 24 assists, five digs and three kills on the night.
As a team, BYU posted a .377 hitting percentage while holding the Gaels to -.068.
BYU opened the set on a 4-1 run following kills by Ballard-Nixon and Madelyn Robinson, a Lake service ace and another kill by Robinson. After Saint Mary’s brought the score within two at 13-11, the Cougars went on a 10-1 run highlighted by four Gneiting kills to build their lead to 23-12. A dump-kill from Bower and a Miller kill closed out the set, 25-15.
The Cougars jumped out to a 3-0 lead after a block assist from Riley Lyman, Kennedy Eschenberg and Ballard-Nixon and kills by Miller and Eschenberg. BYU maintained a firm hold on the set, building a 14-6 lead following an Eschenberg kill, a Miller service ace and back-to-back kills from Bower and Ballard-Nixon. BYU had 15 kills in the set while posting a .464 hitting percentage. The Cougars finished the set on a 11-5 run, winning it 25-11 after a kill by Eschenberg, two by Miller and a service ace from Bower.
BYU once again came out quick, building a 4-0 lead after two Lake service aces and kills from Robinson and Gneiting. A Miller kill followed by consecutive solo blocks from Miller and Eschenberg gave the Cougars a 12-point advantage and brought the score to 16-4. BYU recorded three blocks during the set while holding Saint Mary’s to a -0.150 hitting percentage. BYU took the set 25-13 after an Abbey Dayton service ace, Whitney Llarenas kill and a Gael attack error to complete the sweep.
The Cougars remain at home this week as they take on the Pacific Tigers on Saturday, Nov. 2, at 1 p.m. MDT on BYUtv.
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