No. 13 BYU Takes Down Pepperdine on Senior Night
PROVO, Utah — No. 13 BYU women’s volleyball took down Pepperdine in five sets (25-15, 25-19, 20-25, 20-25, 15-3) in its concluding match of the regular season at the Smith Fieldhouse on Tuesday.
"I'm so proud of our team for battling hard the whole night," BYU head coach Heather Olmstead said. "I'm happy for our seniors who gave it their all and really played for each other. The crowd was incredible and I can't thank them enough for showing up and supporting our team."
In front of a crowd of 3,646, senior McKenna Miller led the way offensively, registering 18 kills to go along with eight digs and two blocks. Junior Taylen Ballard-Nixon recorded a career high in kills with 14 on a .364 hitting percentage. The Cougar attack featured six players that recorded at least six kills in Miller, Ballard-Nixon, Heather Gneiting (9), Kate Grimmer (7), Kennedy Eschenberg (6) and Madelyn Robinson (6).
Senior Mary Lake added 15 digs, four assists and an ace while freshman Whitney Bower had 46 assists, 11 digs and three blocks.
The set featured four ties early, with BYU claiming a 9-8 edge before getting into a rhythm offensively. Ballard-Nixon paced the Cougars with six kills in the set while hitting .667. In addition to stellar offense, the home team’s defense held the opposing squad to a -.062 hitting percentage. BYU’s attack proved to be too much for the Waves as the Cougars gained 14 kills in the set to Pepperdine’s six leading to a 25-15 set victory for BYU.
BYU got out to a quick lead, taking a 6-1 advantage that the team would never relinquish. Miller led the way offensively, posting six kills to bring her hitting percentage to .526. Eighteen of the Cougars’ 25 points in the set were kills as five different players recorded at least two kills. BYU’s offensive firepower proved to be too much for Pepperdine as Kate Grimmer ended the set with an emphatic kill, making the final score 25-19.
The Cougars could not quite match Pepperdine’s intensity as the Waves were aggressive out of the gate. Ballard-Nixon secured her career-high 13th kill in the set, but it wasn’t enough as BYU fell, 25-20.
Pepperdine imposed its will early, not relinquishing a lead till BYU went ahead 13-12. The Cougars were able to hang with the Waves until they pulled away late, ultimately falling in the fourth set, 25-20.
The Cougars got out on a roll in the last set and did not look back. Behind the serve of freshman Abbey Dayton, BYU went on a 10-0 run to make the score 12-2. Robinson contributed four kills of her own, setting the tone in the must-win frame. The Cougars won the match off an ace from senior Kiani Moea’i to make the final score 15-3.
The Cougars will now learn their postseason fate on the NCAA Selection Show on Sunday, Dec. 1, at 6:30 p.m. MT on ESPNU.
No. 13 BYU Hosts Pepperdine on Senior Day Tuesday
PROVO, Utah – Televised by ESPNU, No. 13 BYU women's volleyball hosts Pepperdine on Senior Night in the Cougars' final match of the regular season on Tuesday, Nov. 26, at 8 p.m. MT.
Seniors Mary Lake, McKenna Miller, Kiani Moea'i and Riley Lyman will be honored before the match for their outstanding careers at BYU. The Cougars and Waves will then start at a special 8 p.m. MT time on the ESPNU broadcast with Paul Sunderland and Karch Kiraly on the call.
The Cougars swept the Waves (25-21, 25-15, 29-27) in Malibu earlier this year, with three BYU hitters finishing with double-digit kills: McKenna Miller with 18, Madelyn Robinson with 16 and Heather Gneiting with 11. BYU is 27-9 against Pepperdine all-time but has won 15 straight, having not lost to the Waves since 2011.
BYU is one of 10 teams in the NVCA Top 15 that has only lost to teams ranked in the current AVCA Top 25. BYU’s four losses this year have all come against teams ranked in this week’s poll, including No. 4 Texas, No. 12 Marquette and No. 20 San Diego. The Cougars also have wins over No. 3 Stanford and No. 18 Utah.
The Cougars currently rank among leaders nationally in four major categories: No. 17 in opposing hitting percentage (.157), No. 21 in hitting percentage (.274), No. 24 in blocks per set (2.64) and No. 46 in aces per set (1.59).
Following the match, BYU will learn its postseason fate on the NCAA Selection Show on Sunday, Dec. 1, at 6:30 p.m. MT on ESPNU.