- BYU defeats Loyola Marymount 3-2 (16-25, 16-25, 25-20, 25-22, 15-13)
- BYU improves to 27-3, wins the West Coast Conference and earns an NCAA berth
- Loyola Marymount drops to 19-11
Brigham Young University went right down to the wire to win the West Coast Conference, but a 5-set comeback win over Loyola Marymount combined with a San Diego loss has the Cougars into the NCAA tournament.
BYU and San Diego were tied in the conference heading into the final match date of the season. Early on, both teams went down 0-2, BYU to Loyola Marymount and San Diego to Pepperdine. But BYU rattled off three straight set wins to earn the 3-2 victory, while San Diego fell to Pepperdine 1-3.
That leaves Brigham Young the outright WCC champs. They’ll earn the conference’s automatic NCAA berth in this weekend’s selection show. San Diego will have to hope for an at-large bid, though we had them inside our projected top 64 this week.
BYU was led by freshman McKenna Miller, who had 21 kills over the 5-set marathon match. She also hit .317. Mary Lake chipped in 23 digs.
Loyola Marymount was red hot for two sets, hitting .462 as a team. Sarah Sponcil had a double double (18 kills, 17 digs) in the last match of the season.
LOS ANGELES – Freshman outside hitter McKenna Millerhelped No. 10 BYU women’s volleyball past Loyola Marymount in a five-set (16-25, 16-25, 25-20, 25-22, 15-13) thriller Tuesday night to clinch the West Coast Conference title outright for the third-consecutive season.
“I am so proud of the team,” BYU head coach Heather Olmstead said. “Loyola Marymount came out on fire and played a great match. Our team stayed positive and never gave up. That was a total team effort tonight and everyone contributed.”
Miller led the Cougars with 21 kills on a .317 clip. Lyndie Haddock set the team with 35 assists while Mary Lakecontributed 23 digs. Whitney Young Howard had seven blocks and nine kills and Amy Boswell collected 15 kills in the win.
Loyola Marymount (19-11, 10-8 WCC) took a 6-3 lead to start the decisive fifth set after a 4-0 run. BYU (27-3, 16-2 WCC) scored the next four points, with help from three Lion attack errors, to take a 7-6 lead. A Boswell kill and solo block kept the Cougars ahead at 12-10, forcing a Loyola Marymount timeout. The Lions scored the next two points to knot the score back at 12 apiece, but a Miller kill gave BYU set point at 14-13. An overpass kill from Miller then gave the Cougars the set and match, 15-13.
Loyola Marymount took an 8-3 advantage to start the first set with help from back-to-back blocks. BYU struggled offensively to begin the set, as the Lions picked up their fifth block to increase their advantage to seven at 13-6. The Cougars then began to pick things up offensively by going on a 4-2 run, capped off by a Howard kill, to come back within four, down 17-13. The rally proved too late as Loyola Marymount ended on a 7-2 run to take the set 25-16.
The two squads battled to begin the second set, as a Boswell kill evened things up at 7-7. The Lions then went on a 7-2 run to take a five-point advantage at 14-9. A 6-2 rally for Loyola Marymount ensued to extend its lead to 20-12. BYU couldn’t find anything offensively to end the set as the Lions won it 25-16.
A Howard kill helped the Cougars to a 4-2 advantage to begin the third set. Loyola Marymount quickly closed the gap, knotting up the score at 11 apiece after two kills from Savannah Slattery. A kill from Danelle Parady-Stetler gave BYU a 15-13 edge in the set, and consecutive Boswell kills extended the lead to four, 18-14. The Cougars increased the lead to six at 22-16, but the Lions climbed back in the set, trailing three at 23-20 after a kill. BYU answered with the next two points, however, to take the set 25-20 on a Howard and Veronica Jones-Perry block.
Back-to-back Howard blocks helped the Cougars to a 5-2 lead at the start of the fourth set. An 8-1 run then helped Loyola Marymount take a 12-8 lead. BYU collected the next three points, followed by three-straight points from the Lions, to keep Loyola Marymount ahead by four at 15-11. A Jones-Perry ace helped the Cougars on a 5-0 run to retake the advantage at 16-15. A pair of Miller kills tied the set at 20-all and a Miller and Howard block gave BYU a 22-20 edge. The Lions cut the lead to one at 23-22, but Lacy Haddock ended the set 25-22 for the Cougars with a kill, sending the match to the decisive fifth set.
Holding the conference’s autobid, the Cougars next await an NCAA tournament berth. The NCAA Division I Volleyball Selection Show will take place Sunday, Nov. 27, at 7 p.m. MST and will be broadcast live on ESPNU.
Playing in arguably the most exciting match of the 2016 season on Senior Night Tuesday, LMU volleyball (19-11, 10-8 WCC) suffered a familiar fate, dropping a heartbreaking five-set match to #10 BYU (27-3, 16-2 WCC) by scores of 16-25, 16-25, 25-20, 25-22, 15-13 from Gersten Pavilion.
With the loss, LMU will finish the 2016 season 0-6 in five-set matches, including having dropped three after taking the first two sets – both against top-10 opponents. The five-set loss is also the second of the year at the hands of the Cougars, and moves LMU to 1-13 all-time against BYU. Of those 14 matches, eight have gone five sets.
The Lions played nearly flawless volleyball over the first two sets, hitting .462 in the first and .562 in the second while amassing 7.5 blocks in the two combined, but the Cougars would ultimately wear down the Lions en route to earning sole possession of the 2016 WCC Championship. BYU never trailed in the third set before forcing a fifth and decisive frame by way of a tight fourth-set victory that featured seven tie scores and five lead changes.
Knotted at two sets apiece, LMU and BYU played an epic fifth set that saw 10 tie scores and three lead changes over the race to 15. A Boswell kill allowed BYU to move to a 12-10 lead late, but the Lions clawed back even by winning the next two points, including the latter tally on an Erin Williams kill to force a Cougar timeout. A service error and another Williams kill once again pushed the teams even, this time at 13, but Miller put away the next two balls for the Cougars, sealing the come-from-behind five-set victory to clinch the WCC crown.
Sarah Sponcil had an incredible match for LMU, teaming 18 kills with 17 digs and three blocks to finish with her 16th double-double of the season. Seniors Jamie Lea and Nicky Kevorken also went out strong, with Lea totaling 17 kills and nine digs to accompany six blocks. Kevorken had five kills on nine attacks with two aces, a block solo and three block assists in her final collegiate match.
Freshman Savannah Slattery and Williams, who earned on a spot on the WCC All-Academic team earlier Tuesday, each finished with double-digit kills, as Slattery had 15 to Williams’ 10. Williams not only put up big numbers on the attack, she also contributed seven blocks to help LMU to 12.5 team blocks.
BYU’s McKenna Miller led all players with 21 kills on 41 swings to finish with a .317 hitting percentage, but Amy Boswell and Whitney Howard each had all-around matches for the Cougars. Boswell posted 15 kills with an ace and one block while Howard notched nine kills and seven block assists. BYU finished the match with eight total team blocks.