No. 11 BYU women’s volleyball fell at Portland in a five-set (25-22, 25-27, 25-22, 17-25, 15-9) heartbreaker Thursday night at the Chiles Center.
“I thought we fought hard, but we weren't quite as disciplined as we need to be,” BYU head coach Heather Olmstead said. “We can learn from this and get better for Saturday.”
McKenna Miller led the Cougars with 23 kills. Alohi Robins-Hardy set the team with 28 assists, and Mary Lake chipped in 20 digs. Whitney Young Howard collected five blocks, and Lyndie Haddock had a double-double of 24 assists and 10 digs. Additionally, Makenna Santiago had 11 digs, Amy Boswell had 16 kills and Lacy Haddock had 13 kills.
Portland (11-8 West Coast Conference) went up 4-2 to begin the decisive fifth set against BYU (16-3, 5-2 WCC). A pair of kills from Miller kept the Cougars in the set, down 6-5, before a 3-1 BYU run tied things up at 9-apiece. It was all Pilots from there, as they scored the final six points to win the set and match, 15-9.
BYU benefited from four Portland errors to take an early 4-2 lead in the first set. The Pilots, however, took the next five points to go up 7-4. A pair of Howard kills and a block kept the Cougars in the set, as they took a 9-8 edge after another 4-1 rally. A service ace put Portland up by three at 14-11 and a kill later extended its lead to four at 17-13. A Boswell kill and Pilot attack error kept BYU within striking distance, down 20-17, and consecutive Miller kills cut the lead to one at 21-20. Portland powered through with its offense from there, taking the close set, 25-22, on an ace.
A Lacy Haddock kill helped the Cougars take a 4-2 advantage to begin the second set. A service error gave BYU an 8-5 lead, but four-straight points from Portland put it ahead by one, 9-8. The Cougars countered with a 5-1 rally, capped off by a Santiago ace, to retake the lead at 13-10. The set remained close from there as a Howard and Danelle Parady-Stetler block kept BYU ahead 19-16. The Pilots scored the next three points, but kills from Howard and Haddock put the Cougars back up by two, 21-19. Portland then went on a 6-1 run to take set point, up 24-22, but a pair of Boswell blocks knotted the score back up at 24-all. After more back-and-forth play, consecutive kills from Miller ended the set in BYU’s favor, 27-25.
The Cougars jumped out to a 5-0 lead to start the third set with help from a pair of Lyndie Haddock kills. The Pilots then followed with a 5-1 run to tie the score at 6-6. With BYU ahead 9-7, the two teams remained within a point of each other until a pair of kills from Portland’s Hannah Troutman put the Pilots up 14-12. After a Portland attack error, it went on a 5-1 rally to take a 19-14 advantage, forcing a Cougar timeout. BYU scored six of the next eight points, capped off by two Lacy Haddock kills, to get within a point, down 21-20. Despite the late Cougar rally, the Pilots took another close set, 25-22, on a block.
Portland took a 5-2 advantage at the beginning of the fourth set, but BYU quickly countered with a 9-2 run to take an 11-6 lead. The Pilots then rallied to get within a point, down 12-11, but a block, kill and ace from Hannah Robison helped extend the Cougars’ lead to six at 19-13. A Miller kill gave BYU set point at 24-16 before another kill from Miller ended the set, 25-17, sending the match to the decisive fifth set.
The Cougars return to action Saturday, Oct. 15, at noon PDT, against Gonzaga at the McCarthey Athletic Center. The match will be streamed live on TheW.tv. Links to the video feed and live stats 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.