McKenna Miller and Heather Gneiting combined to help No. 8 BYU women’s volleyball sweep Duke (25-22, 25-19, 25-16) on Friday night at Cameron Indoor Stadium to open the 2018 season.
"I'm really proud of the team tonight," BYU head coach Heather Olmstead said. "They stayed the course and kept fighting after being down early in the first set. We got better with each set and have a lot of positives to build off of."
Miller led the Cougars with 14 kills, and Gneiting following closely behind with 11. Lyndie Haddock-Eppich set the team with 38 assists, while Mary Lake provided 24 digs. Kennedy Eschenberg picked up six kills and a team-high four blocks, while Roni Jones-Perry had eight kills in the win.
Gneiting got the first point of the first set for BYU (1-0), but Duke (0-1) came roaring back on a 6-1 run to take a 6-2 advantage. After a timeout, the Blue Devils followed up their rally with another 5-1 run to go ahead by seven, 11-4. The Cougars scored the next three points, capped off by a Eschenberg kill, to get back within four, down 11-7. BYU then used a 13-2 run to take its first lead of the night at 20-15, forcing two timeouts from Duke along the way. The Blue Devils inched their way back within two, but the Cougars took the set, 25-22, on a Duke attack error.
A Jones-Perry kill pushed BYU in front at 6-5 to start the second set. A 6-1 Blue Devil run of kills and an ace then gave Duke a 12-8 lead. Kills from Gneiting and Miller propelled the Cougars on a 7-0 rally to put BYU back ahead at 15-12. Back-to-back blocks from Lacy Haddock and Eschenberg kept the Cougars in front, 21-17, and a Miller kill ended the set, putting BYU up 2-0 with a 25-19 set two win.
The Blue Devils took a 4-2 lead to start the third set. A Jones-Perry ace and three-straight Miller kills helped the Cougars take a 12-6 advantage, forcing a Duke timeout. The Blue Devils used a 4-2 run to get back within four, down 14-10, but that was followed with BYU scoring three of the next four points to stay ahead, 17-11. Duke then went on an offensive attack, using a 5-1 run to get within three, trailing 18-15. The Cougars capitalized on several Blue Devil errors to stay in front and close out the set and match, taking it 25-16.
BYU returns to Cameron Indoor Stadium on Saturday, Aug. 25, at 6:30 p.m. EDT, in a rematch against Duke. The match will be televised by ACC Network Extra. Live stats can be found on the BYU women’s volleyball schedule page.