Friday, April 16, 2021

Grace Wee, left, and Whitney Bower, right, celebrate against San Diego on March 20 in the Smith Fieldhouse. The Cougars swept the Toreros in the first match in front of fans this season in Provo. (Preston Crawley)

BYU Olympic overview: MRGC championship for gymnastics, win streaks for volleyball

BYU’s Olympic sports went undefeated over the weekend with a conference championship for gymnastics and extended win streaks for both volleyball teams.

Gymnastics

The No. 12 BYU gymnastics team won the Mountain Rim Gymnastics Conference championships on March 20 with a 196.925 score, edging out Boise State by 0.2 points.

Senior Abbey Miner-Alder (9.9, vault) and senior Angel Zhong (9.875, bars) had much-needed career-highs for the Cougars.

This is BYU’s second consecutive MRGC title. Next up, the Cougars will compete in the NCAA National Collegiate Women’s Gymnastics Championships.

Women’s volleyball

The No. 16 BYU women’s volleyball team swept No. 21 San Diego on March 20 for the Cougars’ fifth-straight win in their first game in front of fans this season in the Smith Fieldhouse.

“The energy in the Smith Fieldhouse was great,” BYU head coach Heather Olmstead said. “I think the fans definitely helped give us some energy and helped us through playing a tough San Diego team.”

The win caps off a big week for the Cougars as they beat San Diego in four sets on the road earlier in the week.

“It was so fun having fans in the Fieldhouse. I missed it,” sophomore setter Whitney Bower said. “It was so fun seeing people out there cheering.”

BYU will head to Moraga, California, next to take on Saint Mary’s on March 26.

Men’s volleyball

The No. 2 BYU men’s volleyball team picked up a pair of wins on the road against No. 4 Pepperdine, where the Cougars hadn’t won since 2018.

The second win on March 20 extended BYU’s win streak to seven, six of which have been sweeps.

Junior outside hitter Davide Gardini led the Cougars with 16 kills on a .556 clip in the 3-1 win on March 19.

BYU displayed its defensive toughness on March 20 as the Cougars netted 11.5 blocks in a three-set match. Senior opposite hitter Gabi Garcia Fernandez led BYU with 12 kills.

The Cougars look to extend their win streak as they return to the Smith Fieldhouse for a two-match series against USC, which starts on Friday, March 26.

Women’s soccer

The No. 17 BYU women’s soccer team scored five unanswered goals after conceding early on in a 5-1 thrashing of Pacific on the road.

Pacific’s sophomore midfielder Ryanne Molenaar opened the scoring seven minutes in to give the Tigers an early 1-0 lead.

BYU sophomore forward Bella Folino scored to tie the score at 1-1, nearly 20 minutes after Pacific’s goal.

After the halftime break, BYU compiled four goals to pull away from the Tigers. Sophomores Brecken Mozingo and Rachel McCarthy, Folino and senior midfielder Mikayla Colohan all scored in the second half.

Colohan picked up two assists to go along with her goal, and sophomore midfielder Jamie Shepherd also tallied an assist.

BYU’s next game will be on March 24 on the road against San Diego.

Women’s swim and dive

Two Cougars competed in the NCAA swimming and diving championships in Greensboro, North Carolina.

Kennedy Cribbs placed 26th in the women’s 1-meter dive with a score of 264.90.

Katie McBratney placed 41st in the women’s 100-yard breaststroke.

The NCAA championships mark the end of the season for BYU, though several Cougars have Olympic aspirations and will be competing in the national team trials this summer.

Baseball

The BYU baseball team completed a three-game sweep against Loyola Marymount over the weekend on the road.

BYU pitchers were on another level during the series as they compiled 33 strikeouts over the three games, while only giving up 14 hits.

Senior outfielder Danny Gelalich provided good hitting during the series, going 5-of-9 with two RBIs, a double and a triple.

Both junior catcher Joshua Cowden and infielder Andrew Pintar provided home runs during the series.

The Cougars return home to face UVU in the Crosstown Clash on Tuesday, March 23.

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