BYU women’s volleyball fell to San Diego (25-18, 20-25, 25-19, 17-25, 15-10) after five heated sets. This loss ended the team’s 10-game winning streak.
“I think it’s a good learning experience. It taught us the things we can get better at. We can’t just expect to win every game,” senior McKenna Miller said. “We know what we have to work on. The good news is that we get to.”
The first kill of the night came from junior Kennedy Eschenberg which she quickly followed with a block. The teams swapped points for the majority of the first set until San Diego began to pull ahead and eventually won the set 25-18.
A kill from Miller put BYU on the board, then a block by sophomore Madelyn Robinson and Eschenberg set the Cougars ahead in the following set (2-1). The teams swapped points until two kills by Miller helped BYU take the lead once again (10-8). The Cougars’ lead was short-lived, and the teams began to swap points again. Robinson and Miller threw in three kills each followed by one from freshman Whitney Bower, and BYU was finally able to remain ahead. Sophomore Heather Gneiting earned the last two points of the set with a kill and a block for the Cougars (25-20).
Gneiting then earned BYU’s first point of the third set with a kill, but San Diego quickly took the lead by scoring eight points in a row (10-2). After a kill from senior Riley Lyman, followed by one from Eschenberg and two from Robinson, BYU ended San Diego’s streak but remained behind (14-6). Gneiting served an ace, which was followed by two kills from Miller (17-11).
BYU began closing in on San Diego after Eschenberg and Lyman each contributed a kill each and Robinson added three more (21-16). Lyman injured her arm and was pulled from the game.
“Riley’s doing a really good job playing where we need her to,” Heather Olmstead, women’s volleyball head coach, said. “She was able to relieve pain a little bit. We’ll probably find out Monday what’s going on.”
Despite kills from Gneiting, freshman Kate Grimmer and Robinson (24-19), BYU was still five points behind San Diego. The Cougars lost the third set after hitting the ball out of bounds (25-19).
BYU gained the first three points of the fourth set thanks to kills from Miller and Grimmer. The Cougars held the lead with a block and kill from Gneiting (9-4). San Diego began to close in on BYU, but two Eschenberg kills kept the Cougars ahead (13-10). The team pulled further ahead with a block and two kills from Robinson, then an ace from Miller, followed by a kill by Grimmer (23-14). BYU prepared for the setpoint after a kill from Miller, then Bower tipped the ball over the net to win the fourth set (25-16).
The fifth set started with the teams swapping points until San Diego took the lead (7-4). BYU drew closer after a block from Bower but began to fall behind again (12-6). Eschenberg and Miller each contributed a kill to bring the score to 13-8, then San Diego responded with a kill of its own and prepared for set point (14-8). Robinson and Eschenberg defended with a block, then Robinson added another kill (14-10). San Diego finished the match with a kill of its own (15-10).
Robinson tied her personal best with 18 kills, a .341 hitting rate and a .439 kill rate. Miller finished with 13 kills. Junior Taylen Ballard-Nixon and Eschenberg had .500 and .421 hitting rates, respectively. Senior Mary Lake led in digs with 19, while Bower had 41 assists and nine digs.