Charlotte Y. Martin Centre
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Balanced Attack Leads to Win at Gonzaga
SPOKANE, Wash. – No. 9 BYU women’s volleyball opened West Coast Conference play with a victory at Gonzaga 3-0 (25-13, 25-13, 25-17) on Thursday.
Setter Whitney Bower and the Cougars shared the ball around the court, with five players totaling five kills or more. Senior McKenna Miller had a match-high 13 kills, freshman Kate Grimmer had 10 while sophomore Madelyn Robinson hit a career best .692 with nine kills on 13 attacks and no errors.
BYU hit a season-high .393 while holding Gonzaga to .022, a season low for the Cougar defense.
"We were really efficient tonight offensively and Whitney spread the ball out really well," BYU head coach Heather Olmstead said. "I liked the way we focused on the road."
Sophomore Heather Gneiting totaled seven blocks, five kills and two aces; junior Kennedy Eschenberg added six kills and three blocks; and senior Mary Lake tacked on eight digs and five assists.
The win is BYU’s 15th in a row over the Zags, including five straight sweeps.
Grimmer was unstoppable in the first frame, putting down six kills on seven swings. BYU broke things open with a 9-1 run to take a 18-9 lead. Gneiting had two kills and an ace during the run. Back-to-back kills by Madelyn Robinson finished off the set.
The Bulldogs bounced back early to take a 5-1 lead in set two. Thanks to two kill from Gneiting and three blocks by the Cougars, BYU tied the game at 7-7. With the set at 10-10, the Cougars would go on to score 15 of the next 18 points to win, 25-13. During an 8-0 run that put the set away, Miller served three aces to catapult BYU to the win.
Gonzaga held the lead until 11-10 before the Cougars pulled away yet again. BYU scored five-straight points, getting kills from Miller, Grimmer, Eschenberg and Robinson with a Bulldog attack error. BYU held on the rest of the way, with Miller’s final kill ending the match at 25-17.
BYU stays on the road for its second game of the week, traveling to Portland to play the Pilots on Saturday, Sept. 28, at noon PT.
No. 9 Cougars Begin WCC Play
PROVO, Utah – Coming off a big week with two wins over top-20 teams, the No. 9 BYU women's volleyball team goes on the road this week to begin West Coast Conference action.
The Cougars (9-2) will first play at Gonzaga (6-6) on Thursday, Sept. 26, at 6 p.m. PT before traveling down to Portland (8-3) on Saturday, Sept. 28, at noon PT. Both matches will be shown live on the WCC Network.
BYU is riding high after defeating No. 18 Utah, three sets to one, followed by a victory at Stanford, currently ranked No. 1 in the nation.
Now with the non-conference slate over and conference play set for the next 18 matches, the Cougars are focused on trying to win their sixth-straight WCC title and seventh in the last eight years.
BYU is 19-1 all-time against Gonzaga and 8-0 under head coach Heather Olmstead, having swept the Bulldogs each of the last four meetings. The Cougars are 15-1 all-time against Portland with a 7-1 record under Olmstead – since that loss in five sets in 2016, BYU has swept the Pilots five-straight times.
Senior outside hitter McKenna Miller was named WCC Player of the Week for the second time this season after hitting .319 last week, including 22 kills against Utah and 18 at Stanford. She currently leads all WCC players in kills and points per set and recently moved up to sixth on the BYU rally scoring era career kills list.