No. 1 BYU women’s volleyball went 2-0 on the week with wins over Loyola Marymount (25-23, 25-15, 25-20) on Thursday, Oct. 18, and Pepperdine (26-24, 25-13, 25-8) on Saturday, Oct. 20.
With the pair of wins, the Cougars improved to 10-0 in WCC play and 20-0 overall. The Cougars also still hold the No. 1 spot in the AVCA national coaches poll rankings.
“We had a great night with our serve and pass game,” said BYU head coach Heather Olmstead following the game against Loyola. “Serving tough allowed us to get great block touches. I’m proud of the team’s effort tonight.”
The first set against Loyola was the most competitive of the match, featuring six lead changes and 11 ties. With the game tied at 23, an attack error by Loyola and a kill by McKenna Miller pushed BYU over the edge to give them the 25-23 set win.
The final two sets were never as close as the first, and the Cougars completed their 16th sweep of the season. Roni Jones-Perry led the Cougars with 12 kills, followed by Miller with nine. Kennedy Eschenberg led the team in blocks with seven.
On a night when BYU had a hitting percentage of .292, below their season average of .328, the team still found a way to come out on top.
“We figure out a way to win,” Mary Lake said. “Our hitters don’t need to be on all the time, and that’s why we’re a team, because they don’t need to be crushing every ball. We need to figure out as a team how to win when other teams are playing good defense.”
In support of national breast cancer awareness month, BYU handed out pink T-shirts to the first 2,000 fans at the match. Miller talked about how exciting the atmosphere was at the Smith Fieldhouse.
“It was really fun to have that energy with it being the pink-out game,” Miller said. “Since they gave out shirts, there was pink everywhere and the crowd was super loud, so it was fun.”
— BYU Women’s Volleyball (@BYUwvolleyball) October 19, 2018
In their match against Pepperdine, the first set also proved to be the most competitive. Pepperdine was leading 24-23 and one point away from winning the set, but after two attack errors by the Waves and a kill by Jones-Perry, the Cougars managed to get the win. Much like in their match against Loyola, the Cougars dominated the last two sets to improve to 20-0 on the season.
“I liked the way we stayed focused the entire match,” Olmstead said. “We showed a lot of fight in the first set and kept it going.”
Jones-Perry once again led the Cougars with 12 kills, while Miller added 10. Both Eschenberg and Lyndie Haddock-Eppich had seven blocks in the match.
The Cougars hit the road this week with games at Portland on Thursday, Oct. 25 at 7 p.m. and at Gonzaga on Saturday, Oct. 27 at 12 p.m.