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BYU volleyball: Balanced effort helps No. 1 BYU sweep Santa Clara to remain undefeated

A balanced team effort helped No. 1 BYU women’s volleyball sweep Santa Clara (25-19, 25-22, 25-13) on Saturday afternoon at the Leavey Event Center to remain undefeated on the year.

“We did a good job on our serve and pass game,” BYU head coach Heather Olmstead said. “We kept our focus the entire match, and that's what you have to do on the road.”

Kennedy Eschenberg put down 10 kills and six blocks for the Cougars while hitting on a .471 clip. Lyndie Haddock-Eppich set the team with 31 assists, while Heather Gneiting contributed eight kills. Roni Jones-Perry had nine kills and team highs in aces (four) and digs (eight).

BYU (18-0, 8-0 WCC) scored the first two points of the first set with a pair of blocks. Santa Clara (5-15, 0-8 WCC) got within two, down 6-4, but kills by Jones-Perry and McKenna Miller pushed the Cougars in front at 9-4. The Broncos evened the score at 14-all following a BYU error, but a 4-0 Cougar run kept BYU ahead, 21-16. An ace from Jones-Perry then ended the set, 25-19.

Santa Clara got off to a 3-0 lead in the second set after two kills and a block. A 3-0 run, which included a kill by Madi Robinson, pushed the Cougars in front at 8-6. The teams remained close as a Miller ace kept BYU ahead at 13-11, but two quick kills from the Broncos gave them the lead at 16-15. The Cougars scored the next three points to go back up 18-16, forcing a Santa Clara timeout. With the score tied at 19 apiece, BYU rattled off three of the next four points to take a 22-20 advantage. The Cougars then took the set, 25-22, on a Bronco attack error.

BYU went on a 6-0 run, which included an ace by Gneiting, to open up the third set. The Cougars took a double-digit lead at 12-2 after another ace from Jones-Perry, and a pair of Gneiting kills made it 17-6. Santa Clara went on a 4-1 rally to get back within eight, down 18-10, but Jones-Perry ended the set and match for BYU at 25-13 with a kill.

The Cougars return home to the Smith Fieldhouse next, facing Loyola Marymount on Thursday, Oct. 18, at 7 p.m. MDT. The match will be televised live on BYUtv. Live stats can be found on the BYU women’s volleyball schedule page.