BYU women’s volleyball: Cougars top Pacific in three sets
The No. 10 BYU women’s volleyball team rebounded from a disappointing loss to No. 18 San Diego with a sweep of Pacific (25-21, 25-17, 25-17) Thursday night at the Smith Fieldhouse.
Veronica Jones-Perry led the Cougars with 12 kills while Cosy Burnett and McKenna Miller each added eight kills in the win.
“There were a lot of positives from this match — I thought our blocking was the difference,” said BYU head coach Heather Olmstead. “I think our girls served tough, and that helped our block get in system and get some good touches and good stuff-blocks on Pacific. I thought we passed well, and I think Lyndie (Haddock) did a good job running our offense and we took some smart swings offensively.”
The Cougars got off to a slow start, but rallied to take a 6-4 lead in the first set.
An 11-4 run highlighted by two kills from Jones-Perry and one from Burnett, Haddock and Kennedy Redding made it 17-8 BYU before three-straight attack errors forced Olmstead to call a timeout.
Pacific continued to chip at BYU’s lead and cut it to six points at 22-16 before going on a 5-1 run to get within two.
BYU called another timeout and a kill from Jones-Perry and an attack error from Pacific gave the Cougars a 25-21 win in the first set.
The teams traded points to open the second set until a 3-0 run gave BYU a 12-9 lead.
Jones-Perry had consecutive blocks and Burnett added another during the run.
BYU finished the night with 14 blocks compared to Pacific’s six, and the Cougars took advantage of those opportunities at the net.
“We really worked on serving tough, which really helped our blocking system and our blockers did an awesome job this game,” said sophomore Mary Lake, who led the Cougars with 13 digs. “Our defense really improved because our blockers did an awesome job. We definitely aimed this week to serve tougher and be more assertive with our serve.”
After a Tiger timeout, the Cougars stretched the lead to five and finished the set on a 6-2 run capped by a Miller kill to win the second set 25-17.
Pacific opened the final set with three kills before BYU answered with an ace after back-to-back attack errors from the Tigers to tie it at 4-4.
At 6-6, BYU went on an 8-1 run to take a 14-8 lead.
Jones-Perry had three-straight kills and added another after a Pacific service error during the run.
BYU attack errors let Pacific get back in the set and a kill from Andie Shelton made it 15-13 BYU.
A Cougar timeout helped BYU refocus, but Pacific cut the lead to one twice before another 8-1 run sealed the match for BYU.
Five errors from the Tigers helped extend that run and a final Tiger service error ended the match.
Pacific finished with more kills, assists and digs than BYU, but also committed 31 errors compared to the Cougars’ 19.
Up next, BYU will host Saint Mary’s on Saturday at 1 p.m. The Gaels were swept by WCC co-leader San Diego on Thursday.
“We’re playing one match at a time,” Olmstead said. “(Saint Mary’s) is our most important match on the schedule because it gives us an opportunity to get better and to work on things heading down the stretch.”