BYU COUGARS

No. 9 BYU Volleyball Survives Upset-Minded LMU

Oct 1, 2019, 10:42 PM | Updated: Oct 2, 2019, 9:37 am
Courtesy of BYU Photo...
Courtesy of BYU Photo

PROVO, Utah – The No. 9 BYU women’s volleyball had their first test of West Coast Conference play on Tuesday against a Loyola Marymount team who had an upset on their mind.

BYU defeated LMU in five sets at the Smith Fieldhouse (25-22, 25-20, 21-25, 22-25, 15-7) to remain unbeaten in the WCC and giving the Lions their first conference loss of the year.

After two sets, it had the feeling of another potential conference match sweep, but LMU had other plans as they pushed the Cougars.

BYU dropped the next two sets to go to a decisive fifth and final set. It was the fourth time since 2016 that LMU has stretched BYU to the fifth set in their matches.

Thrilling Fifth Set

In the final set, the Lions opened up scoring first after LMU caught BYU’s defense sleeping to take a 1-0 lead. Then a critical momentum swing in favor of the Cougars happened as senior libero Mary Lake had a dig and then senior McKenna Miller had what appeared to be one of her 14 kills in the match to tie up the score. Refs ruled the kill out and gave the point to LMU.

After an official review, the call was reversed and the score was at one each. Both teams went back-and-forth for the next couple of points until things broke open for the Cougars with freshman Whitney Bower serving. The Cougars scored eight consecutive points to build a 14-6 lead and set up match point.

LMU then committed an over the net penalty and BYU came away victorious with another huge conference win.

In the fifth set, BYU was at its best hitting 42 percent with eight kills and no errors.

“I thought Whitney Bower went back and did a good job serving and getting them in trouble and scored a bunch of points in that fifth set and that gave us a little bit of separation and life and excitement. I thought we were just resilient the whole match,” said BYU head coach Heather Olmstead.

One of the highlights during Bower’s run of points while serving came with BYU leading 11-6. Both Bower and Lake had digs to keep the ball alive and BYU was able to come away with a point on a rally that had the Smith Fieldhouse rocking.

“The girls were just giving it their all. You saw Mary flying around and people were digging balls and so, it just gives you life and the crowds excited. I thought it was just a really good point of the match for us where we kind of just took a breath and said hey let’s focus on the next point, but that was really exciting,” said Olmstead.

Four players on BYU ended the night with double-digit kills led by Miller’s 14. Sophomore Heather Gneiting had 12, Madelyn Robinson with 11, and Kate Grimmer had 10.

BYU is now 12-2 overall and 3-0 in West Coast Conference play.

Next Up

BYU makes a trip to Stockton, California to take on the Pacific Tigers this Thursday at the Spanos Center. The Tigers are currently 9-4 overall and 1-0 in WCC play.

Mitch Harper is a BYU Insider for KSLsports.com and host of the Cougar Tracks Podcast and Cougar Sports Saturday (Saturday from 12-3 pm) on KSL Newsradio. Follow him on Twitter: @Mitch_Harper.

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