PROVO, Utah – Alexa Gray led No. 12 BYU women's volleyball with a career-best 31 kills, making her the rally-scoring era kill leader at BYU, to defeat Santa Clara in four sets (25-19, 25-21, 23-25, 25-14) Thursday night at the Smith Fieldhouse.
“It was a good volleyball match,” BYU head coach Heather Olmstead said.”I thought we executed a little bit better and I’m really proud of the team. Obviously Alexa carried us through that match, and I couldn’t be any more proud of her effort. It was a great team win.”
Gray led all players with 31 kills in addition to nine digs while hitting at a .464 clip. Camry Godfrey Willardson had 40 assists and seven digs while hitting at a .500 clip and Amy Boswell added five blocks and nine kills. Whitney Young Howard had seven kills while also hitting at a .500 clip. Libero Ciara Parker contributed a team-high 19 digs in the win.
BYU (24-3, 14-2 West Coast Conference) had 60 assists as a team while hitting at a .323 clip. The win gives the Cougars a 7-4 series advantage over the Broncos (21-7, 12-4 WCC).
In the first set BYU jumped out to a 5-1 start that began with a kill from Burnett. The teams traded points before the Cougars went on a 6-0 run that included a block by Howard, making the score 13-5. Santa Clara responded with a run of its own, scoring four-straight points to make the score 13-9. The Cougars regained momentum when Cosy Burnett and Howard teamed up for back-to-back blocks that started a 4-2 run, giving BYU a 17-11 advantage. The Broncos were able to pull within one of the Cougars before a kill by Gray made the score 18-16. At 20-17, Veronica Jones had two kills and Boswell had an ace to extend BYU’s lead to six before Howard added a kill to win the set 25-19.
The second set opened with the teams even at a 2-2 tie before Santa Clara made a 7-3 run to gain a 9-5 edge over the Cougars, despite two kills from Burnett. The Broncos extended the lead to seven, with the score at 14-7, before Gray smashed a kill, helping BYU fight back to 14-10. Down 17-11, the Cougars rallied with a 7-2 run that began with another kill from Gray before a service error by the Broncos made the score 19-18 in favor of Santa Clara. After more back-and-forth scoring, Gray had a pair of kills to break BYU’s rally-scoring era record, giving the Cougars a 22-21 lead. Gray then served for the final two points and BYU won the set 25-22.
In the third set, Gray continued her record-setting offensive performance with three more kills for the Cougars in the first three points of the set, keeping the score tied 3-3. Burnett then had a kill that helped BYU out to a 9-6 lead. Gray added another kill before the Broncos tied the score at 11-all. The teams went back-and-forth holding the lead until Santa Clara built a two-point advantage, forcing the Cougars to take a timeout with the Broncos ahead 15-13. A Boswell block gave BYU the serve trailing 22-21 before Willardson had a dump kill to tie up the score at 22. An attack error by Santa Clara gave the Cougars the lead again at 23-22, but the Broncos fought back to win the set 25-23.
In the fourth set, Santa Clara jumped out to a 3-1 lead before BYU tied the score at three on a kill from Burnett. The score stayed close before Gray had a kill to give the Cougars their first lead of the set, making it 7-6. BYU then went on a 6-2 run with kills from Gray, Willardson and Howard to take a 12-8 lead. Another dump kill by Willardson helped the Cougars to a 15-9 advantage that forced the Broncos to take a timeout. BYU followed with a 4-1 run, helped by a block from Parady and a kill by Gray, to take a 19-10 advantage. A kill by Howard, then a kill by Burnett took the Cougars to a 22-14 lead. Gray then broke her own career kills record with her 31st kill of the night to win the match 25-14 for BYU.
The Cougars host San Francisco Saturday at 12 p.m. MST. The match is free admission to the public. Links to live stats can be found on the BYU women’s volleyball schedule page.
PROVO, Utah – No. 12 BYU women’s volleyball returns home this week to face off against second-place Santa Clara and San Francisco.
Last Time Out
The Cougars (23-3, 13-2 West Coast Conference) beat Portland in four sets and Gonzaga in a five-set come-from-behind thriller. Alexa Gray had career highs in kills (30) and digs (32) against the Pilots, helping the team to a BYU rally-scoring era record 104 digs for the match. Then, against the Bulldogs, Gray added a double-double of 29 kills and 13 digs in the win.
- BYU first faces off against Santa Clara (21-6, 12-3 WCC) Thursday, Nov. 19, at 7 p.m. MST.
- The Cougars fell to the Broncos in four sets on the road earlier this year; however, each team has won on its home court in each of the past three years.
- BYU holds an edge in the overall series record at 6-4.
- Santa Clara has won eight of its last 10 matches, only falling to Loyola Marymount and Portland along the stretch.
- The Broncos are led by 4.05 kills per set from Nikki Hess, Kirsten Mead’s 11.20 assist average, Danielle Rottman’s 4.92 digs per set and 1.31 blocks per set by Lacey Maas.
- The Cougars next compete against San Francisco (16-12, 3-12 WCC) Saturday, Nov. 21, at 12 p.m. MST.
- BYU won a four-set matchup on the road earlier this year against the Dons.
- The Cougars are a perfect 11-0 in the overall series.
- San Francisco has struggled in conference play, going only 1-9 in its past 10 matches.
- The Dons are led by Katarina Pilepic’s 3.82 kills per set, 6.38 assists per set from Kiara McKibben, 4.00 digs per set from Kim Gutierrez and Madison Murtagh’s 1.14 blocks per set average.
Thursday’s match against Santa Clara will be broadcast live on BYUtv and simulcast on BYU Radio. Live stats will be provided for both Thurday’s and Saturday’s matches. Links can be found on the BYU women’s volleyball schedule page.
BYU a cappella group Vocal Point is slated to perform between sets two and three on Thursday. There will be free admission to Saturday’s match against San Francisco.