No. 9 BYU Sweeps Boise State in home opener
PROVO – No. 9 BYU women's volleyball opened the season with a sweep over Boise State (25-13, 25-21, 25-17) Friday afternoon in the Smith Fieldhouse at the BYU Nike Invitational.
"Our serving was really clean today," BYU head coach Heather Olmstead said. "I’m happy with the way our team went out there and competed. There were some early jitters, but the team settled in and we had nice contributions from a few freshmen."
Freshman setter Whitney Bower made her debut as a Cougar with 31 assists, five aces, five digs, two kills and a block. Bower’s five aces set a BYU freshman rally era record.
Senior McKenna Miller had a match-high 13 kills and junior Kennedy Eschenberg followed with nine. Freshman Kate Grimmer came out with six blocks and seven kills while senior Mary Lake contributed 18 digs for BYU.
BYU (1-0) and Boise State (0-1) remained close at the beginning of the first set, going point for point until the Cougars took a 10-1 run, including back-to-back aces by Bower to give BYU a 22-12 lead over the Broncos. A kill from Grimmer finished out the set for BYU at 25-13.
The Cougars took the lead at 4-3 from a kill by Taylen Ballard-Nixon and kept it for the rest of the set. An ace from Miller gave BYU a seven-point lead, 17-10, and contributed to the Cougars’ 8-1 run. Boise State rallied back and brought the score within two points at 21-19, but BYU closed out the set 25-21 off another kill by Ballard-Nixon.
BYU opened up the set with an early 6-0 lead that included back-to-back aces from Bower. The Cougars again held the lead for the entire game, and a block by Heather Gneiting and Grimmer secured a nine-point lead, 20-11, over Boise State. A kill from Eschenberg secured the 25-17 third set win and the match.
BYU will face Utah Valley University tonight at 7:30 p.m. MT for its second match of the tournament. It will be broadcast on BYUtv.
UVU vs. Marquette
In the first match of the day at the BYU Nike Invitational, No. 16 Marquette down Utah Valley in three games (25-14, 25-18, 25-22).
Allie Barber had 14 kills for the Golden Eagles while Kaitlyn Lines had seven kills, three aces, two digs and a block. Marquette hit .395 to the Wolverines’ .163 for the match.
Kazna Tarawhiti had 13 kills and 10 digs for the Wolverines, who out-blocked Marquette 7-2.
Season Opens Friday at Home for Cougars
PROVO — No. 9 BYU women's volleyball will begin the 2019 season by hosting Boise State, No. 16 Marquette and Utah Valley in the BYU Nike Invitational starting Friday, Aug. 30.
The Cougars will first face Boise State at noon MT on Friday in Provo at the Smith Fieldhouse before playing their second match of the day against Utah Valley at 7:30 p.m. MT. BYU will then play Marquette on Saturday, Aug. 31, at 7 p.m. MT. All three games will be televised live on BYUtv.
BYU is a combined 25-0 against its three upcoming visitors, including 8-0 versus Boise State, 14-0 versus Utah Valley and 3-0 versus Marquette.
The Broncos placed fifth last year in the Mountain West Conference, going 18-11 overall.
Blending the old and the new, this year's BYU team returns a core of four All-Americans, including middles Kennedy Eschenberg and Heather Gneiting, outside hitter McKenna Miller and libero Mary Lake. They are joined by six returners and eight newcomers, including seven true freshmen.
Ranked ninth in the country and picked to finish first in the West Coast Conference, the Cougars are looking to win a sixth-straight WCC title and make another run in the NCAA Tournament a year removed from an NCAA Semifinal appearance.
Heather Olmstead returns for her fifth season as head coach at BYU after winning AVCA National Coach of the Year honors in 2018.