Cougars Beat Saint Mary's, Claim Outright WCC Title
MORAGA, Calif. – Clutch team performances and a 31-kill night by senior Roni Jones-Perry gave the No. 1 BYU women’s volleyball team the outright West Coast Conference title and a 25-23, 25-23, 24-26, 25-16 victory over Saint Mary’s on Thursday.
The WCC championship is the Cougars fifth-straight as BYU improved to a perfect 26-0 and 16-0 in conference with two matches left to play in the regular season.
Jones-Perry had a double-double with 31 kills on 66 attempts with 11 digs, six blocks, two assists and one ace. The 31 kills are fourth most by a BYU player in a rally era game and 11th overall. The double-double is her fifth of the season.
"I’m so proud of the team and the way they fought," BYU head coach Heather Olmstead said. "Roni was really special tonight and took some big time swings. Winning the WCC championship is a moment they will have with them the rest of their life. They deserve it."
Senior setter Lyndie Haddock-Eppich did a little bit of everything for the Cougars, finishing with 43 assists, 16 digs, six blocks and six kills. Sophomore Kennedy Eschenberg added eight kills while junior Mary Lake and senior Sydnie Martindale totaled 16 and 11 digs, respectively.
The two teams played a very close set with BYU managing to pull ahead by four points late at 17-13 after going on a 6-0 run behind three kills from Jones-Perry. The Cougars led 20-16 until the Gaels went on a 6-0 run of their own to take a 22-20 lead. But two kills by freshman Madi Robinson and a final point from Jones-Perry gave BYU the set, 25-23.
After maintaining a slim lead in the second set, BYU fell behind 15-14, then watched as Saint Mary’s (17-9, 9-7) pushed to a 22-17 lead. But the Cougars stormed back behind serves from Martindale and senior Danelle Stetler, going on an 8-1 run to close out the set, 25-23.
BYU had a 19-18 lead in set three after trailing most of the frame, but this time the Gaels pulled ahead and stayed there to take a 26-24 win.
The Cougars bounced back in the fourth and final set, jumping out to an 8-0 margin again behind Stetler’s serve and great blocking at the net. Jones-Perry had 10 kills in the set alone and finished off the match with a service ace to give BYU a 25-16 victory.
BYU will play at Pacific on Saturday, Nov. 15, at 1 p.m. MT. The game will be televised live on TheW.tv.
BYU women’s volleyball season tickets for the upcoming 2023 campaign will go on sale beginning Wednesday, July 26.