Cougars Start Shocker Classic with a Win
WICHITA, Kan. – Behind 17 kills, four blocks and three aces from senior McKenna Miller, the No. 13 BYU women’s volleyball team defeated Wichita State 3-1 (23-25, 25-16, 25-19, 25-20) on Thursday.
Miller’s 17 kills were a season high as four Cougars finished with double-digit kill totals, including junior Kennedy Eschenberg’s career-high 13 on a .476 hitting percentage.
Freshman Whitney Bower totaled 51 assists and a team-high 16 digs for BYU (6-1) while sophomore Heather Gneiting added 11 kills and seven blocks.
"Our first road match was a tough battle just like we thought it would be," BYU head coach Heather Olmstead. "I liked the way we kept our focus after the first set and kept grinding. McKenna, Heather and Kennedy took some big time swings at crucial times."
BYU held Wichita State (3-4) to .111 hitting on the night, marking the fifth time in seven matches this season the Cougars have forced an opponent to hit .150 or less.
The Cougars spread out the offense and capitalized on Shocker errors to take a 14-8 lead. But Wichita State then scored five unanswered to cut the lead to 14-13. From there the two teams battled with BYU taking a 23-22 lead until Wichita State closed out the match 25-22 off a BYU service error, an ace, and a Cougar attack error.
Miller had five kills, two blocks and an ace in the set to help BYU bounce back with a 25-16 win. Up 10-8, a block by Gneiting and Miller and three kills by Miller gave BYU a 14-9 lead. The Cougars extended their lead to as many as seven at 22-15 before a block by Eschenberg and freshman Kate Grimmer finished off the set.
BYU took an early 11-5 lead after an ace by freshman Abbey Dayton and a kill by Gneiting. Later in the set, Grimmer had three of her seven kills in quick succession to help BYU pull away midway through the set, with an Eschenberg kill giving BYU a 20-11 margin. Another Eschenberg kill finished off the set, 25-19.
The final set was close until BYU went on a 5-1 run behind kills from Grimmer, Gneiting and sophomore Madelyn Robinson. The Shockers closed the lead to two at 22-20, but this time BYU close the door, scoring three consecutive points on a Robinson kill, Gneiting and Grimmer block and a final ace by senior Mary Lake to end the match.
BYU will next face No. 3 Texas on Friday, Sept. 13, at 4:30 p.m. CT in a rematch of last year's Elite Eight contest that saw the Cougars sweep the Longhorns in Provo.
Cougars Travel to Wichita for Three Matches
WICHITA, Kan. – After hosting back-to-back invitationals, the No. 13 BYU women's volleyball team will compete in the Shocker Volleyball Classic for three matches this week.
The Cougars (5-1) will play host Wichita State (3-3) on Thursday, Sept. 12, at 7 p.m. CT before taking on No. 3 Texas (3-1) the following day at 4:30 p.m. CT. BYU will close with a match against VCU (4-3) on Saturday, Sept. 14, at noon CT. Visit the schedule page for streaming and audio information.
BYU most recently claimed the Doterra Classic titles with three wins last week to improve to 5-1 on the year with the lone loss against Marquette, currently ranked seventh in the country.
Senior outside hitter McKenna Miller leads the Cougars with 71 kills and was named the West Coast Conference Player of the Week and Doterra Classic MVP for her efforts last week. Freshman Whitney Bower has started at setter in all six of BYU matches and is seventh in the country with 15 aces to go with 194 assists, 40 digs and nine blocks on the year.
BYU is traveling to Wichita State a year after defeating the Shockers in Provo, 3-0. Against Texas, the Cougars are 10-8 overall, including six wins in the last seven meetings between the two programs since 1992. BYU and VCU have met just once before, with BYU earning a 3-0 win in Provo in 2006.