No. 1 women’s volleyball remains undefeated, coach racks up 100th win

Sydnie Martindale and Mary Lake celebrate after scoring a point against Gonzaga on Sept. 27. (BYU Photo)

No. 1 BYU women’s volleyball went 3-0 Sept. 25-29 to remain undefeated.

With sweeps over Pepperdine (25-15, 25-18, 25-21), Gonzaga (25-12, 25-10, 25-15) and Portland (25-14, 25-15, 25-18), the Cougars improved to 5-0 in WCC play and 15-0 overall.

“I just really love our team effort and the energy coming from everybody,” said BYU outside hitter, Roni Jones-Perry. “One thing I love about our team is that we just want each other to succeed.”

In the win at Pepperdine on Sept. 25, where Jones-Perry led the team with 16 kills on a .583 hitting percentage and 10 digs. Middle blocker Heather Gneiting added nine kills and six blocks for the Cougars. The win also happened to be the 100th of BYU head coach Heather Olmstead’s coaching career.

“We came out ready to go and kept working hard the whole match,” Olmstead said. “We served tough and that helped us defensively.”

The Cougars then returned home and beat Gonzaga on Sept. 27, where setter Lyndie Haddock-Eppich led the team with 31 assists, seven kills and five digs. Jones-Perry had 10 kills, Gneiting had six and both Madelyn Robinson and McKenna Miller added five. Sixteen out of the 18 players on the BYU roster saw playing time during the match.

“When other players would sub in everyone was just super excited for them,” Jones-Perry said. “I love that about our team.”

BYU finished off the week with a win over Portland at home on Sept. 29. Jones-Perry finished with a game-high 13 kills and added four digs. Robinson, Gneiting and Miller contributed with eight, seven, and six kills, respectively. Haddock-Eppich led the team in assists with 29 while libero Mary Lake added 12 digs for BYU.

Although it was the first three-match week of the season for the Cougars, Jones-Perry said she is keeping her focus and always looking to improve.

“It’s just a little bit busier, a little less practice time since we’re traveling and playing,” Jones-Perry said. “But other than that we’re just trying to stay in our same routine and stay focused on whatever we have coming up next.”

Lake reiterated what Jones-Perry said, adding that the Cougars are at their best when they play as a team and block out topics that are not volleyball related.

“We always just play together as a team and that’s when we’re best,” Lake said. “We’re always focusing on getting better and not anything else. We usually try to block out all the exteriors, whether that’s media or family talking to us about volleyball. We’re just focused on playing and each other.”

The Cougars have a much less busy week this upcoming week, where they only play one game at San Diego on Friday, Oct. 5 at 7 p.m.

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