Alexa Gray's double-double led No. 15 BYU women’s volleyball past Saint Mary’s in a sweep (25-20, 25-17, 25-22) Saturday afternoon at McKeon Pavilion.
“I'm proud of the way the team came out today determined to get better,” BYU head coach Heather Olmstead said. “Our communication was great in serve receive, which helped us get into a nice offensive rhythm. I thought we also did a nice job defensively executing our game plan.”
Gray led the Cougars with 19 kills on a .421 clip to go along with a career-high 15 digs for a second-consecutive double-double — and her fourth of the year. Ciara Parker contributed double-digit digs with 14, while Camry Godfrey Willardson added 30 assists. Whitney Young Howard added a team-high five blocks, and Cosy Burnett chipped in 10 kills and four blocks in the win.
Saint Mary’s (6-11, 1-6 West Coast Conference) got off to a 10-5 lead early in the first set with help from multiple BYU (15-2, 5-1 WCC) net violations. Following a timeout, the Cougars went on a 5-1 run to come back within a point, down 11-10. The Gaels quickly countered with four-straight points, capped off by back-to-back blocks, to go back up 15-10. BYU then took a turn rallying, going on a 10-2 run to take a 20-17 lead, forcing a Saint Mary’s timeout. The Cougars continued with their momentum, taking the set 25-20 on a Gray kill.
BYU jumped out to a 7-0 advantage to begin the second set with help from tough serving by Parker. Saint Mary’s responded by taking five of the next six points to bring it within three, 8-5. The two sides traded points from there until back-to-back Veronica Jones kills helped to put the Cougars back up by five at 13-8. The Gaels came back within two, down 13-11, before Boswell won a joust to give BYU another five-point advantage at 18-13. The Cougars continued on their offensive attack, winning the set 25-17 on a Jones kill to the far left side.
The third set started out back and forth as a Willardson kill gave BYU the 5-4 edge. The score remained neck-to-neck as a Burnett kill helped the Cougars stay ahead 12-10. A block from Boswell and Willardson then helped BYU as it began to extend its lead, going up 16-11. A service ace from Boswell put the Cougars ahead 21-13 before a 5-0 spurt from Saint Mary’s brought the Gaels back within three, down 22-19. Gray then helped her team end the set and match for BYU, 25-22, with a kill.
The Cougars next return home Thursday, Oct. 15, when they face off against Gonzaga at 7 p.m. MDT. The match will be the annual Pink Game. Fans are encouraged to wear pink to support breast cancer awareness. The match will be broadcast live on BYUtv and simulcast on BYU Radio. Links to live stats and a video feed can be found on the BYU women’s volleyball schedule page.
Royce Hinton is the men's and women's volleyball sports information director for BYU Athletic Communications.