BYU women’s volleyball sweeps Santa Clara

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Whitney Bower sets the ball in the Cougar’s home game sweep of Santa Clara on Saturday, Oct. 12. (Addie Blacker)

BYU women’s volleyball continued its 10-game winning streak as it swept Santa Clara (25-16, 25-11, 25-10) on Saturday, Oct. 12.

“We’ve been fighting to be more steady, and the girls are stepping up and doing that,” BYU senior Mary Lake said. “I couldn’t be prouder of everyone. Everyone was really focused and all in today. It just felt good.”

Junior Kennedy Eschenberg had the first BYU kill of the match, which was followed immediately by an ace from Lake. The teams swapped points for the first half of the set (12-12), until BYU found its rhythm after McKenna Miller’s two kills and Madelyn Robinson’s one. Kate Grimmer served four aces after BYU won an intense rally, then Heather Gneiting ended another rally with a block (23-14). Two kills by Gneiting won the first set for the Cougars (25-16).

The Cougars immediately pulled ahead in the second set with aces from Bower and Miller and kills from Robinson and Grimmer (9-3). A kill from Grimmer and Lake’s second ace of the match brought the score to 13-5, and BYU continued to lead with three kills and a block from Gneiting (17-8). Then Miller contributed two aces and a kill followed by two blocks from Taylen Ballard-Nixon and Eschenberg (24-11). The Cougars won the second set on a serving error from the Broncos (25-11). 

BYU claimed the first eight points of the third set with a tip from Bower, two blocks by Miller and Eschenberg and three kills (8-0). BYU maintained its lead after another tip from Bower. Ballard-Nixon’s kill brought the score to 12-2. Gneiting followed with a kill of her own (13-2). The Cougars stayed well ahead and gained a 15-point lead to take the match (25-10).  

“We’ve been talking about starting the third set strong, so I’m happy we were able to do that and just compete and have the energy and have everyone do their jobs,” Miller said. “I feel like it was a good game overall.”

The team finished the match with nine services aces, 26 kills, nine blocks and 37 digs — 11 of which came from Lake. Miller was the point and kill leader with seven kills and .700 kill and hitting percentages. Gneiting was close behind with a kill percentage of .625 and a hitting percentage of .500. 

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