No. 8 BYU women’s volleyball defeats Saint Mary’s

The BYU women’s volleyball team celebrates winning a point against Pepperdine. (Savannah Hopkinson)

The No. 8 BYU women’s volleyball team (16-1, 5-0 WCC) defeated Saint Mary’s (5-11, 1-5) in five sets (22-25, 20-25, 25-20, 25-23, 15-10) on Thursday night at McKeon Pavilion in California.

After being down two sets to none against Saint Mary’s, BYU rallied to come back and win the next three sets to complete the five-set victory.

The push was credited to junior outside hitter Veronica Jones-Perry, who led the team with 24 kills and 11 digs for a double-double.

Lyndie Haddock collected 46 assists and Mary Lake had 15 digs. Cosy Burnett contributed 12 kills and five blocks while Kennedy Redding added nine kills and six blocks. Taylen Ballard had eight kills and four blocks in the win.

“I’m proud of our team’s fight tonight,” said BYU coach Heather Olmstead. “Things weren’t going well for us, but we just never gave up. Saint Mary’s played well and Rob (Browning) does a great job, so we knew his team would be prepared. We had some players step up and execute when it mattered, which was nice to see.”

A Haddock dump kill was part of a 4-0 BYU run that put the Cougars up 6-2 in the first set.

A service ace from Burnett extended the Cougars’ advantage to seven, 11-4, and back-to-back blocks from Haddock and Burnett made it 17-10.

An 8-1 rally from the Gaels brought them back within a point, down 19-18.

BYU took a 22-20 lead but Saint Mary’s scored the last five points to take the set 25-22.

A kill and ace from Jones-Perry made it 4-2 for the Cougars early in the second set. The Gaels scored 12 of the next 15 points, including five from aces, to take a 14-7 advantage.

BYU called a timeout down 19-11, and three blocks from Redding helped the Cougars get back within three, 23-20.

However, the run came too late as Saint Mary’s won the set 25-20 on a kill.

Three-straight errors from the Gaels helped BYU take a 7-3 third-set advantage. Saint Mary’s scored the next four points to even the score at 7-7.

Consecutive kills from Jones-Perry pushed the Cougars up 12-9 and then again at 15-11.

The Gaels got back within a point, down 17-16, after another service ace before BYU scored six of the next seven points to make it 23-17.

Another ace from Saint Mary’s pulled the Gaels back within three, trailing 23-20.

The Cougars then closed out the set 25-20 on a Jones-Perry kill.

A Jones-Perry ace put BYU ahead 6-4 to begin the fourth set. A kill down the line from Ballard made it 11-8, but the Gaels followed that with a 5-1 run to take a 13-12 advantage.

The teams traded points until Saint Mary’s scored three-straight, forcing a Cougar timeout with BYU trailing 18-15.

The Cougars then countered with a 5-0 run to retake the advantage at 20-18.

The Gaels continued to compete, tying things at 23 apiece, but kills from Burnett and Jones-Perry gave BYU the 25-23 set win, forcing the fifth set.

BYU collected the first two points of the decisive set from errors by Saint Mary’s, taking a 2-0 lead. A pair of Haddock kills extended the lead to four, 6-2, forcing a timeout from the Gaels.

A Haddock ace made it 11-4, and a Jones-Perry kill ended the set and match 15-10.

The Cougars stay on the road next, traveling to Pacific Saturday at 1 p.m. MDT.

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