Gray's 19 kills lead No. 12 BYU past Dons for share of WCC title
PROVO, Utah —Behind yet another killer performance from senior outside hitter Alexa Gray, No. 12 BYU women’s volleyball swept (27-25, 25-12, 25-17) San Francisco Saturday afternoon to clinch at least a share of the West Coast Conference title.
"I liked the way we stayed focused throughout the entire match and finished strong," BYU head coach Heather Olmstead said. "Everyone played a part today and they know how important it is to keep getting better. We had a great crowd and the energy was awesome."
Gray, who tallied a career-high 31 kills against Santa Clara on Thursday, finished the match with 19 kills through three sets with a .372 hitting percentage. She also added nine digs and three assists. Danelle Parady finished with a career-high eight kills to go along with nine digs. Makenna Santiago and Ciara Parker each added a match-high 11 digs, and Alohi Robins-Hardy and Camry Godfrey Willardson shared the setter position, collecting 17 and 16 assists, respectively. Amy Boswell had eight kills to go with a match-high four blocks while Cosy Burnett contributed seven kills on a .600 clip.
The Cougars (25-3, 15-2 WCC) went back and forth with the Dons (16-14, 3-14 WCC) early in the first set, after the first four kills came from Gray. BYU pulled away 15-13 behind a kill by Burnett, but San Francisco rallied back to take the lead at 17-15 due to a series of Cougar errors. Teams then traded points until it was tied 24-all. On the next play, BYU kept the ball alive behind a key sliding dig from Gray to bring up set point. BYU took the close set 27-25 on an attack error from the Dons. Gray ended the set with seven kills, while Burnett had four.
The Cougars came out firing in the second set behind five early kills from Gray to go up 8-2. BYU extended its lead to 15-4 with an ace from Gray and a block from Boswell and Willardson. On set point, Robins-Hardy recorded her 12th assist as she set up a Boswell kill to put away the set 25-12. The Cougars finished with just one attack error in the set for a .448 team hitting percentage.
BYU traded points with the Dons early through the first 10 points scored in the third set. The Cougars then took a 7-4 edge behind a crucial dig from Parker that helped set up a Parady kill. BYU kept its advantage behind two more kills from Parady, two from Boswell and one from Gray to go up 16-12. Parady added an additional pair of kills near the end of the set as the Cougars took a 25-17 set and match victory.
BYU women’s volleyball has now won 23 straight matches at home and is 49-1 on its home court since Nov. 2011.
The Cougars will play their last game of the regular season at the Smith Fieldhouse against Pepperdine on Tuesday, Nov. 24, at 7 p.m. MST. BYU will honor its three seniors - Gray, Parker and Willardson - before the start of the match. There will also be $1 nachos and soda available for purchase. The match will be broadcast live on BYUtv and will be simulcast on BYU Radio and Sirius XM 143.
BYU women’s volleyball season tickets for the upcoming 2023 campaign will go on sale beginning Wednesday, July 26.