PROVO, Utah -- In a neck-and-neck match-up, No. 9 BYU women’s volleyball fell to Utah in a five-set (27-25, 25-20, 23-25, 17-25, 15-13) heartbreaker Thursday night in the Deseret First Duel.
“It was a great match and it was exactly what I thought it was going to be,” BYU head coach Heather Olmstead said. “Congrats to Utah, they executed when it mattered. I’m really proud of our team for coming back from being down 0-2 to give ourselves a chance, but we couldn’t get it done in the end.”
Freshman McKenna Miller led the Cougars offensively with 24 kills, while sophomore Veronica Jones-Perry added a career-high 20 kills of her own. Senior Amy Boswell recorded six blocks along with seven kills and four digs. Mary Lake collected a team-leading 21 digs and Lyndie Haddock paced the team with 47 assists and nine digs.
BYU (9-1) jumped out to a 2-0 lead to begin the decisive fifth set. Utah (8-2) quickly responded with a 5-2 run to take a 7-4 lead, forcing the Cougars to use their first timeout. A kill by Jones-Perry then brought the Cougars’ deficit down to two, 7-5, before the teams switched courts. Jones-Perry struck again after a Makenna Santiago ace to bring the teams back to being tied at 8-8. A couple of Ute attack errors helped the Cougars take the lead, 10-9. The Utes responded quickly to bring the teams back to being tied at 13-13. Two kills from Utah’s Adora Anae ended the match for the Utes, 15-13.
The Cougars and Utes traded points back and forth in the first minutes of the first set until the Cougars finally took the lead at 4-3. Utah rallied back and made up the difference right away to tie BYU and slowly build its lead to 7-5. With two kills from Miller, the Cougars were back in the set matching the Ute’s pace. BYU led 14-12, until two kills from the Utes brought the teams back to 14-all. Kills by Haddock and Jones-Perry gave the Cougars a 18-16 edge, but the Utes matched those two kills with two of their own to tie things up at 18 apiece. An error from Utah led the Utes to take a timeout as the Cougars then held the lead at 20-19. Utah took over after a timeout to take a 23-21 advantage. The teams traded points again until the Utes took the two-point lead to end the first set in extra points, 27-25.
Three kills from Miller started off the second set to help the Cougars match Utah 5-5. Jones-Perry recorded her eighth kill of the night to then bring the teams back together at 9-9. Miller with her tenth and eleventh kill, helped the Cougars take the lead 11-9. Another big kill from Miller and then Howard helped BYU take a 15-12 edge before a media timeout. After an error, the Utes came back on a 5-0 run to bring them back ahead 17-16, but another kill from Jones-Perry ended the run and brought the score to 17-17. On a 3-0 rally, Utah regained the advantage coming within striking distance of set point. A huge kill from Jones-Perry quickly ended the run. The Utes came back fired up from the timeout, ending the second set on a 4-1 run, 25-20.
In the third set, both teams exchanged scores until the Utes went on a 4-2 rally to give them their highest lead of the set at 15-13. After a break, Utah kept its streak alive with a 4-1 rally, bringing the score to 19-15. The Cougars rallied back with a run of 7-1 to take the lead by two before Utah called a timeout. The Utes came back scoring the first two points following the break. Kills from Miller and Jones-Perry brought the Cougars to set point, 24-23. With her 14th kill of the night, Jones-Perry ended the third set in favor of the Cougars, 25-23.
Utah started the fourth set out on a 3-0 run before two attack errors gave BYU its first points. Another 4-0 run for the Utes put the Cougars on the offensive scramble. A kill by Miller led BYU in a 5-0 run to bring the two teams back together at 7-7. With kills from Haddock, Jones-Perry and Boswell, the Cougars took off again on a 10-2 run to extend their lead to 17-9. A Jones-Perry kill and attack error from Utah then put BYU up 19-11. The Cougars kept the momentum, collecting two more kills from Boswell and Miller, to take a 23-15 lead. An attack error from Utah gave the Cougars set point before another Ute error gave BYU set point, 25-17, sending it to the decisive fifth set.
“That match was exactly what we needed,” coach Olmstead said. “It’s a quick turn around so we’ll have to learn from it quickly.”
The Cougars return to action tomorrow, Friday, Sept. 15, to face CSUN at 7 p.m. MDT in the Smith Fieldhouse. The match will be streamed live on BYUtv. Links to live stats and a video feed can be found on the BYU women’s volleyball schedule page.
PROVO, Utah – No. 9 BYU women’s volleyball returns home to the Smith Fieldhouse this week for matches against rival Utah, CSUN and UNLV.
Last Time Out
The Cougars (9-0) won the Idaho State Invitational over the weekend, picking up sweeps against Boise State, Missouri and Idaho State. Amy Boswell was named the tournament MVP, while Veronica Jones-Perry and McKenna Miller were also added to the all-tournament team.
- BYU plays against Utah (7-2) Thursday, Sept. 15, at 7 p.m. MDT.
- The Cougars lead the overall series history 69-29 and have won the past five-consecutive meetings.
- The Utes won the North Marriott Harbour Challenge over the weekend, picking up wins against Texas State, CSU Bakersfield and Portland.
- Utah finished just 10-21, 4-16 (10th) Pac-12 in 2015.
- BYU will next face off against CSUN (3-6) Friday, Sept. 16, beginning at 7 p.m. MDT.
- The Cougars hold a perfect 9-0 record all-time against the Matadors, picking up a four-set win in the last meeting in 2011.
- CSUN has lost its last four matches, including against Eastern Washington, Wyoming and Samford last weekend.
- The Matadors finished with an 8-20, 7-9 (6th) Big West record in 2015.
- BYU will conclude the week by playing UNLV (9-0) Saturday, Sept. 17, at 5 p.m. MDT.
- The Cougars lead the overall series 27-6 against the former Mountain West Conference foe and picked up a five-set win in the last meeting in 2010.
- The Rebels won the Texas A&M-CC Tournament over the weekend, winning against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi and twice against UT Arlington to remain perfect on the year.
- UNLV is off to its best start in school history and is receiving votes in the AVCA Coaches' Poll.
- The Rebels finished 16-14, 9-9 (t-5th) MWC in 2015.
Additional Match Info
Thursday’s match against Utah will be a royal match. Fans are encouraged to wear royal blue to the match. Friday’s match against CSUN is team night – full teams plus coaches will be admitted for $20. Additionally, there will be $1 drinks and popcorn. Saturday’s UNLV match is the alumni match. Former players are encouraged to RSVP with assistant coach Jonny Neeley at email@example.com.
Thursday and Friday’s matches will be broadcast live on BYUtv and simulcast on BYU Radio. Saturday’s match will be streamed live on TheW.tv. Links to live stats and video/audio feeds can be found on the BYU women’s volleyball schedule page.