Miller propels No. 13 Cougars to BYU Invitational title
PROVO, Utah — McKenna Miller's errorless hitting helped propel No. 13 BYU women’s volleyball to its second sweep of the BYU Invitational with a victory over Cal Poly (25-16, 25-13, 25-20) Saturday night at the Smith Fieldhouse to win the title.
“I’m really pleased with the way our girls came out focused with energy and followed the game plan,” BYU head coach Heather Olmstead said. “McKenna was fantastic — she was composed, she was fearless. She went up and scored. She saw the block well.”
Crisp passing and setting resulted in a .460 hitting percentage over three sets for BYU, compared to the Mustangs’ .186 clip. Freshman standout Miller once again came up big for the Cougars, earning 13 of the team’s total 45 kills without an error for a .722 clip. Mary Lake added a match-high 12 digs and Lyndie Haddock added 34 assists. Amy Boswell contributed 10 kills and a pair of blocks in the win.
BYU freshman libero Lake opened the first set of the match with an ace to put the Cougars up 1-0. Cal Poly and BYU continued to battle back and forth, staying within two points of each other before the Cougars went on 3-0 run to have the 12-7 advantage. BYU continued to dominate the attack, going on a 4-0 run to lead 19-10. Boswell contributed five of the team’s 13 kills in the set. BYU remained calm, winning the first set 25-16 on a Cal Poly service error.
The Mustangs fought back in the second set, staying within two points. Five ties and five lead changes later, the Cougars broke away from an 8-8 tie, going on a 6-0 run to lead 14-8. Miller’s seven kills in the set propelled BYU to a 9-0 run, taking a 24-11 lead. BYU sealed the deal took three plays later with a score of 25-13 on another Miller kill.
The Cougars kept their composure in the final set, the closest of the three. BYU scored six unanswered points to break away from an early 2-2 tie. The Cougars built a 10-7 lead but the Mustangs fought hard to tie it 10-10. Six more ties occurred before BYU pulled away for good from a 20-all tie on a kill from sophomore Lacy Haddock. The Cougars came away with a 25-20 win, earning a 3-0 match victory.
Boswell and Lyndie Haddock earned all-tournament team selections while Miller was named the Tournament MVP.
The Cougars will participate in the Sports Imports D.C. Kohl Classic beginning Friday, Sept. 2 in Columbus, Ohio. Wyoming, LIU-Brooklyn and Ohio State will also compete in the tournament. Links to live stats can be found on the BYU women's volleyball schedule page.
Utah Valley vs. Rice
Utah Valley took the first point of the first set, but Rice claimed a comfortable advantage over the Wolverines after much of the contest. Utah Valley got within two points of the Owls at 18-16, but Rice was able to lengthen the lead from there, taking a four-point edge into a Wolverine timeout at 20-16. Another four-straight points for Rice extended its lead to eight, 24-16. Utah Valley scored the next two points to chip away at the advantage, but Rice was able to end the set by a score of 25-18.
The second set was a much closer contest, with neither team claiming a lead of more than two until Utah Valley took an 11-8 advantage over the Owls. The tide quickly turned following a Rice timeout, and the Owls went on an 8-1 run and gained a 16-12 advantage over the Wolverines. Rice maintained the edge over Utah Valley for the rest of the set, ending it by a score of 25-22.
Rice took control of the third set, despite Utah VAlley winning the first point. The Owls maintained a lead over the Wolverines until a monster block from Utah Valley tied the set up at eight. The closest the Wolverines got after that was a 9-9 tie, but Rice shortly took over and held the edge for the rest of the set, finishing off Utah Valley by a score of 25-17 to complete the sweep.
BYU women’s volleyball season tickets for the upcoming 2023 campaign will go on sale beginning Wednesday, July 26.