2016 women's volleyball season review
PROVO, Utah – No. 8 BYU women’s volleyball finished the season with a 29-4 overall record, a third-straight outright West Coast Conference title and a fifth-consecutive trip to the regional semifinals of the NCAA tournament.
Head coach Heather Olmstead completed her second season at the helm of the Cougars. She was named the 2016 AVCA All-Pacific South Region Coach of the Year.
BYU ended the season with two Cougars receiving All-America honors. Senior middle blocker Amy Boswell was named to the first team while freshman outside hitter McKenna Miller was added to the third team.
The Cougars went 11-1 in nonconference play to start the season – falling in five sets to rival Utah. Along that stretch, BYU defeated then-No. 11 Ohio State as well as Missouri who both advanced to the regional semifinals of the NCAA tournament along with the Cougars.
BYU started WCC play winning just five of seven contests – falling in three at then-No. 6 San Diego and Portland in five.
The Cougars cruised from there, winning their next 11 contests, including a home sweep of then-No. 5 San Diego and a come-from-behind five-set thriller at Loyola Marymount in the regular-season finale, to win the WCC title outright by one match.
BYU collected the conference’s auto-bid to the NCAA tournament and was seeded 13th.
The Cougars hosted the first two rounds of the tournament, sweeping both Princeton and UNLV to advance to the regional semifinals for a fifth-straight year.
Falling behind by two sets, BYU clawed its way back against No. 4 seed Texas to force a fifth set, but ultimately fell in a heartbreaker 16-14. The Longhorns eventually advanced to the national championship match.
The Cougars ended the season ranked No. 8 In the final AVCA poll.
In addition to Boswell’s All-America honors, she was named to the AVCA All-Pacific South Region First Team as well as the All-WCC First Team. Boswell also collected the final two WCC Player of the Week honors during conference play.
Boswell was named the CoSIDA Academic All-American of Year for volleyball and was added to the First Team. Other academic honors included being named a Senior Class Award Second-Team All-American, being added to the Academic All-District 8 First Team as well as the Academic All-WCC First Team. She was also named the MVP of the Idaho State Invitational.
Boswell finished the season as the No. 2 blocker in the conference (1.26) and had the highest clip on the team (.372). Her hitting percentage was fifth-highest all-time in BYU rally-scoring era history.
Boswell finishes her career No. 2 all-time in hitting percentage (.345), No. 5 in block assists (505), No. 5 in total blocks (555) and No. 5 in blocks per set (1.41).
To complement Miller’s All-America honors, she was named to the AVCA All-Pacific South Region First Team as well as the All-WCC First Team. She was also named the AVCA All-Pacific South Region Freshman of the Year and the WCC Freshman of the Year. Miller also joined the All-WCC Freshman Team and was the FloVolleyball Player of the Week on Sept. 6. She was named the MVP of the BYU Invitational as well.
Miller ended the season with 447 kills, seventh-most all-time in BYU rally-scoring era history. She also finished the year averaging 3.89 kills per set (ninth-most ever in a season) and collecting 1,087 attempts (seventh-most all-time).
Miller’s 76 attempts against Ohio State were the most all-time in school history. Her 31 kills against the Buckeyes were third-most all-time.
Whitney Young Howard was named to the All-WCC First Team and was named All-Pacific South Region Honorable Mention. She was also added to the WCC All-Academic First Team.
Howard finishes her career ranked No. 3 all-time in hitting percentage (.341), No. 3 in block assists (589), No. 3 in total blocks (629) and No. 3 in blocks per set (1.45).
Mary Lake was named the WCC Player of the Week in the second week of action as well as the ESPNW Player of the Week. She was also named the MVP of the Sports Imports D.C. Koehl Classic. Lake was added to the All-WCC Honorable Mention squad at the end of the year as well as the All-WCC Freshman Team.
Lake collected 38 digs against Ohio State, second-most all-time at BYU. Her 30 digs against Texas were ninth-most all-time.
Lake finished the season with 547 total digs and 4.68 digs per set – most all-time in each category.
As a team, BYU hit at a .460 clip vs. Cal Poly – good for fourth-highest all-time in the rally-scoring era.
In a single season, the team placed No. 1 all-time in the rally-scoring era in most 3-0 wins (21), No. 2 in hitting percentage (.288), No. 2 in wins (29), No. 3 in consecutive wins (13) and No. 4 in service aces (152).
Looking ahead to the 2017 season, BYU loses four seniors – Boswell, Howard, Makenna Santiago and Hannah Robison – who were all in the starting rotation. The Cougars return seven freshmen, five sophomores and three juniors from this year to next season’s squad. Additionally, BYU has signed four new Cougars to the 2017 roster.
BYU women’s volleyball season tickets for the upcoming 2023 campaign will go on sale beginning Wednesday, July 26.