BYU won its 21st straight game at the Smith Fieldhouse by defeating Pacific in straight sets (25-18, 25-23, 25-17) with help from strong defense Saturday afternoon.
“I thought we were scrappy on defense today, which increased our energy and effort,” BYU head coach Heather Olmstead said. “We asked them to be scrappy because Pacific is a scrappy team. Our passing was solid, and if we can get in rhythm with our passing, we’re a very dangerous team. I loved our effort today.”
BYU (21-3, 11-2 West Coast Conference) was led by Alexa Gray, who had a double-double consisting of 20 kills and 12 digs. She also five blocks in the win for the Cougars. Amy Boswell had 12 kills and four blocks, and Sophie Cram also added four blocks in her second career start. Ciara Parker added 14 digs in the defensive effort of the Cougars.
Pacific (14-11, 5-9 WCC) won two-straight points after an error on the opening serve of the first set by Parker. A pair of Gray kills and a solo block by Boswell then allowed them to take the lead, 6-4. The teams traded points until BYU won four-consecutive points on serves from Parker to make the lead 15-8. Makenna Santiago and Lacy Haddock each had multiple digs that were important for the Cougars to give them a comfortable 22-14 lead. However, the Tigers scored six-straight points to bring the score to 24-18. Their momentum was stopped when Gray ended the first set with a kill down the middle, giving BYU the first set, 25-18.
Three kills early in the second set helped the Cougars jump to a 4-1 lead. Pacific responded with strong defense until Cram blocked a kill by Pacific’s Alicja Wilk to stop the Tiger’s progress at 8-5. Pacific’s Maycie Labass had two-straight kills and Cosy Burnett blocked her third ball to make the score 14-10 for BYU. The teams again traded points for the majority of the game until Gray had two kills in a row to put the Cougars ahead 22-20. Pacific responded with strong defense to bring the game to 23-22, but BYU closed it out 25-23 on a kill by Boswell.
Boswell opened the third set with a block and a kill to give her team a 2-0 lead. She and Gray traded kills for the next few points to put the Cougars up 7-3. Pacific’s errors extended the Cougars’ lead to 9-4, but it responded with strong blocking, making the score of the game 11-8. Gray ended its defensive run with a kill to make it 12-8. She added two more before a Pacific timeout, giving the Cougars a 14-8 lead. Three-consecutive kills extended their lead to 17-10, and the front line added some blocks to make the lead 23-15. BYU closed out the set on a kill from Gray, ending the match 25-17.
BYU’s next game is away against WCC opponent Portland on Thursday, Nov. 12, at 7:00 p.m. PST. The game will be streamed live on the TheW.tv.
Michelle Wood is a public relations student at Brigham Young University with a dream of making it to the Super Bowl one day. While she isn't studying for tests and classes, you can find her in the offices of BYU Athletics, working on media relations.