BYU women’s volleyball defeated Pacific (22-25, 25-11, 25-12, 25-20) to continue their four-year winning streak over the Tigers.
“I’m really happy with the way we played,” coach Heather Olmstead said. “I like how we bounced back after the first set and kept being assertive and got more assertive as the match went on. The girls stuck to the game plan and competed really well the last few sets.”
The Cougars and Tigers swapped points at the beginning of the first set until BYU started to pull ahead with a kill from Heather Gneiting (9-5). After four unanswered points, Pacific began to close in (11-10), but three kills from Madelyn Robinson helped BYU stay in the lead (14-12).
The score remained close with BYU leading by one point until Pacific caught up, and the two teams scored back and forth (20-20) until the Tigers gained a two-point lead (22-20). Two kills from McKenna Miller brought BYU closer (23-22), but the Cougars remained behind and lost the set (25-22). Robinson and Miller led the team in kills with five and six respectively. Mary Lake led in digs with three in the first set.
BYU earned the first four points of the second set with help from two Kennedy Eschenberg blocks and a kill from Robinson (4-0). Two dumps from Whitney Bower and an ace from Gneiting in addition to three kills and a block from Miller put some space between BYU and Pacific (15-7). BYU’s lead grew and they won the second set with a kill from Gneiting (25-11).
The two teams swapped points until an ace from Gneiting and a kill from Miller put BYU three points ahead (7-4). Robinson and Eschenberg teamed up for a block which was followed by a Miller kill, bringing the score to 10-5. Taylen Ballard-Nixon added a kill, then Gneiting threw in a block and two kills to keep the Cougars ahead (14-8). Miller followed with four kills and a block (20-11). Eschenberg then added two blocks of her own to bring the score to (23-12). Millers 16th kill of the afternoon won the set point for BYU (25-12).
BYU earned the first points of the ensuing set, but the Tigers caught the Cougars before Ballard-Nixon and Robinson each responded with a kill to retake the lead (5-3). Gneiting and Robinson shared a block with Miller also contributing her 17th kill of the match to keep the Cougars ahead (13-6).
Ballard-Nixon added two more kills and brought the score to 15-8. Robinson threw in a kill after the Tigers drew closer, which was followed by an ace from Ballard-Nixon (18-14). Miller and Gneiting teamed up for another block then the Tigers gained four points in a row (22-19). A block from Gneiting ended the Tiger’s streak. An Eschenberg kill immediately followed by Miller’s 18th kill of the night earned BYU’s match point (25-20).
Miller, three-time 2019 WCC player of the week, finished the match with 18 kills, a .531 hitting percentage and four digs. Robinson followed closely behind with 12 kills and a .462 kill percentage. Lake led the afternoon in digs with 16.
The Cougars are hitting the road for the next couple weeks to face Santa Clara, San Francisco and San Diego before returning home Nov. 21.
“I think our team does a good job at treating home games and away games the same, so we’re always mentally ready and I think we’re ready for this one,” Lake said.