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Katherine Carling | Posted: 23 Nov 2019 | Updated: 8 Nov 2020
Katherine Carling

Solid Attack Gives No. 13 BYU Win Over Gonzaga

Whitney Bower celebrates winning a point.
Video file

PROVO, Utah – No. 13 BYU women’s volleyball defeated West Coast Conference foe Gonzaga in four sets (21-25, 25-9, 25-20, 25-16) on Saturday.

Senior outside hitter McKenna Miller led the way for BYU (24-4, 15-2) with 18 kills in the match, posting a .419 hitting percentage. Freshman setter Whitney Bower had a double-double with 43 assists and 13 digs. Sophomore middle blocker Heather Gneiting matched her season high of 12 kills while posting seven blocks and two aces in the match.

"Our crowd was awesome this afternoon," BYU head coach Heather Olmstead said. "I liked how we battled hard after a not-so-clean first set. We kept at our plan and navigated through the match pretty well."

Box Score

Senior libero Mary Lake added 18 digs, nine assists, two aces and a rare kill for the Cougars in their 16th win in a row over the Zags. Junior middle blocker Kennedy Eschenberg had eight kills on 10 attempts with no errors and four blocks as well.

Set 1

In a tightly contested set that saw 10 ties, neither team could take the lead early. However, the Gonzaga (10-19, 4-13) offense proved to be too much for the Cougars to handle as the set progressed and the Bulldogs pulled away from a 20-20 tie to win the set, 25-21.

Set 2

Miller posted five kills in the set to lead the Cougars to a 25-9 win and a stellar .520 hitting percentage. BYU went on an 11-1 run early in the set behind two aces and a kill from Gneiting and five kills by Miller. A final Robinson kill ended the set quickly with a 16-point Cougar win.

Set 3

BYU and Gonzaga battled for the lead at the beginning of the set, but a 9-1 run from the Cougars gave them a comfortable lead going forward. A kill by Gneiting and a block by Gneiting and Miller finished off the set, 25-20.

Set 4

A 8-1 run this time helped BYU pull away in set four, including a pair of kills and a block from sophomore Madelyn Robinson. Robinson also ended the set with a kill, her ninth of the match, to give the Cougars the 25-16 win.

BYU will return home for Senior Day on Tuesday, Nov. 26, at 8 p.m. MST. The match will be televised on ESPNU.

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Jordan Christiansen | Posted: 19 Nov 2019 | Updated: 8 Nov 2020
Jordan Christiansen

Portland and Gonzaga to Visit Provo


PROVO, Utah – No. 13 BYU women's volleyball will host Gonzaga and Portland this week in two West Coast Conference matchups. 

The Cougars and Bulldogs will play Thursday, Nov. 21, at 7 p.m. MT on the WCC Network. BYU will then take on the Pilots on Saturday, Nov. 23, at 1 p.m. MT on BYUtv.

BYU Game Notes

The Cougars swept Portland (25-20, 25-21, 25-18) and Gonzaga (25-13, 25-13, 25-17) on the road in September. BYU is 16-1 all-time against Portland, including 8-0 at home and 9-0 under Olmstead. BYU has swept the Pilots six-straight times since losing its only match in the series in 2016. The Cougars are 20-1 against Gonzaga, including 9-1 at home and 9-0 under Olmstead with sweeps the last five matches of the series.

BYU comes into the match ranked 13th nationally at 22-4 overall, with the four losses all coming against ranked teams: No. 1 Texas, No. 9 Marquette and No. 20 San Diego. The Cougars also have wins over No. 4 Stanford and No. 16 Utah this year.

The Cougars are led by senior McKenna Miller's 332 kills and 37 aces on the year; her ace total is currently seventh in rally era program history. Freshman setter Whitney Bower has 36 aces with 898 assists and 231 digs while hitting .391 on the season. 

In the middle, sophomore Heather Gneiting and junior Kennedy Eschenberg both provide offense and defense for BYU. Gneiting has 191 kills and 120 blocks with 16 aces while Eschenberg is hitting .343 with 166 kills and 113 blocks on the year. On the backline, senior Mary Lake leads the team with 340 digs to go with 20 aces. 

After this week, BYU will have a final regular season match on Tuesday, Nov. 26, against Pepperdine at 8 p.m. MT on ESPNU. Following the Thanksgiving holiday, the Cougars will then find out their NCAA Tournament fate on Sunday, Dec. 1, during the tournament selection show, hoping to play in the postseason for the eighth-straight time.

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