No. 1 BYU women’s volleyball defeated both Santa Clara (28-26, 25-17, 25-11) on Thursday, Nov. 8, and San Francisco (25-12, 25-12, 25-9) on Saturday, Nov. 10, at the Smith Fieldhouse to finish with a perfect 13-0 record at home.
“We had a total team effort tonight,” head coach Heather Olmstead said after the Santa Clara game. “I loved our fight and our composure.”
With the wins, BYU will now finish at least tied for first place in the WCC regular season standings with rival San Diego. However, a win in any of their remaining three games of the season would give the Cougars the outright conference championship.
Heather Gneiting led the Cougars against Santa Clara with 11 kills and six blocks. Roni Jones-Perry added nine kills for BYU, while Madelyn Robinson recorded seven.
McKenna Miller had six kills, two blocks and two digs for the Cougars before suffering a knee injury during the second set after landing awkwardly after going up for a kill. It was later reported by the BYU women’s volleyball twitter page that Miller injured her ACL on the play and will be out for the remainder of the season.
— BYU Women’s Volleyball (@BYUwvolleyball) November 9, 2018
“It’s hard,” said BYU middle blocker Kennedy Eschenberg on Miller’s injury after the game. “We love her, but I think just by trying to stay focused and with everybody coming in and bringing energy. We had a lot of people step up.”
With the first set tied at 24 and in a win-by-two situation, teams traded points until the set was once again tied at 26. However, a kill by Gneiting and an attack error by Santa Clara pushed the Cougars over the edge to get the set win. BYU dominated the last two sets to complete their 20th sweep of the year.
In its match against San Francisco, BYU was led by Jones-Perry with 12 kills, eight digs and three blocks. Gneiting had another big game for the Cougars with 10 kills and six blocks. Eschenberg, Robinson and Lacy Haddock added eight kills a piece for BYU, and Lyndie Haddock-Eppich had 39 assists.
The Cougars hit at a 0.537 hitting percentage throughout the game, the fourth highest percentage in program history.
Before the match, seniors Jones-Perry, Haddock-Eppich, Haddock, Sydnie Martindale and Danelle Stetler were all honored for senior night.
“It’s crazy,” Jones-Perry said on playing in her final regular season home game. “The season just felt super fast to me. But I’m excited for the games that we have left, and I’m just going to leave it all out on the court with my team.”
BYU has two of its final three matches of the season this week, playing at Saint Mary’s on Thursday, Nov. 15 at 8 p.m. MST, and at Pacific on Saturday, Nov. 17 at 11 a.m. MST.