Mary Lake's defensive performance helped No. 12 BYU women's volleyball overpower Gonzaga in a four-set (25-16, 25-17, 19-25, 25-14) victory Thursday night at the Smith Fieldhouse.
'I thought we played a great match," BYU head coach Heather Olmstead said. "Defensively we did a good job and offensively we were also good. I liked our energy and thought we were pretty focused for the match. We did lose our focus for a slight moment in the third set and it cost us, so we have to learn to play better overall. I liked the way we bounced back in the fourth set."
Lake tallied 28 digs and Lyndie Haddock added eight digs to go with 50 assists in the win. Freshman McKenna Miller led the team in hitting with 20 kills on a .472 clip. Middle blocker Amy Boswell recorded 14 kills, while Lacy Haddock contributed 11 to BYU’s offense. Whitney Young Howard led the Cougars with four blocks.
Gonzaga (14-10, 7-7 West Coast Conference) took the first kill of the match before BYU (23-3, 12-2 WCC) stole the next three points. A Howard kill then sparked a 5-0 run to put the Cougars up 8-2 and force the Bulldogs’ first timeout. Gonzaga began to chip away at the lead by capitalizing on two BYU attack errors followed by a kill, but the Bulldogs couldn’t match the Cougars’ offensive energy. Lacy Haddock recorded a decisive kill to extend the Cougars’ lead, 13-7. BYU continued to rally as a Miller kill created a double-digit gap over Gonzaga. Two Bulldog attack errors increased the Cougars’ advantage, 22-12. Gonzaga attempted a comeback with three-consecutive points before a Haddock roll-shot kill won the first set for the Cougars, 25-16.
BYU jumped out with a quick lead in the second set as Miller and Howard teamed up for a block to put the Cougars up 4-1. BYU took the next two points before Gonzaga answered with a pair of kills. Lacy Haddock notched a kill to contribute to BYU’s 10-5 lead. Freshman Tristyn Moser earned the Cougars’ first service ace of the night to extend their advantage, 14-6. The two sides traded points before a Howard kill gave BYU its second double-digit lead of the night, 20-10. After a Gonzaga kill, Boswell responded with two-consecutive kills to increase the Cougars’ advantage, 22-11. The Bulldogs managed to put six more points on the board before BYU took the second set on a Boswell kill, 25-17.
The Bulldogs opened the third set scoring the first two points before BYU answered with a pair of kills. A BYU attack error gave Gonzaga their second lead of the night, sparking a Bulldog rally. Another Cougar attack error added to Gonzaga’s 7-3 lead and forced a BYU timeout. The Cougars fought back as a Boswell kill cut the deficit to two, 8-6. The two sides traded points before the Bulldogs pulled ahead, 14-10. The Cougars took another timeout as a Gonzaga kill cushioned an 18-13 lead. Boswell collected back-to-back kills, but it wasn’t enough to slow down the Bulldogs’ pace as they scored the next five of seven points. Miller chipped in two more kills before Gonzaga took the set, 25-19, on a BYU service error.
BYU entered the fourth set with momentum on a Miller kill. A Howard and Jones-Perry block increased the Cougars' lead, 3-1. Haddock recorded a pair of kills to extend the Cougars’ advantage, 6-3. Back-to-back Bulldog attack errors sparked a 4-0 run as a Veronica Jones-Perry service ace added to BYU's 10-4 advantage and sent Gonzaga into a timeout. The opponents alternated kills before a Bulldog attack error extended the Cougars’ lead, 14-8. BYU’s offense continued to overpower Gonzaga as a Lacy Haddock kill pushed BYU ahead, 18-11. A Miller kill sparked a 4-0 run before a Gonzaga service error sealed the match for BYU, 25-14.
The Cougars play their final regular-season home match against Portland on Saturday, Nov. 12, at 1 p.m. MST. It will be BYU’s Senior Day and there will be free admission as well as Thanksgiving promotions. The match will be streamed live on TheW.tv, and links to live stats and video feeds can be found on the BYU women’s volleyball schedule page.
Sydney Jorgensen is the men's tennis SID at Brigham Young University. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org