PROVO — The middle, outside positions, the back row — everything was humming for the No. 7-ranked BYU women's volleyball team throughout Saturday's straight-set win over Gonzaga (25-11, 26-24, 25-16.) But it was perhaps the latter stages of the second set where the Cougars really showed their best.
Down throughout that second set after walloping the Bulldogs in the first, the Cougars rallied to end things on a 4-1 run, taking the set 26-24. Senior middle blocker Cosy Burnett contributed a block and a kill during the final stretch, with Veronica Jones-Perry adding two kills, including the set-winner.
"That's something that's really special about our team. Even when we're down we're always trying to problem-solve," Burnett said. " So I think just playing it point-by-point and being resilient really helps us."
Burnett pointed out her team's overall passing, which helped her get more involved in taking big swings at the net and the offense to be more in rhythm.
Burnett accounted for 10 kills on the afternoon, good for second on the team with a .350 hitting percentage. She also had five block assists. Leading the way again was Jones-Perry, who led all scorers with 15 kills.
Overall, the Cougars outhit the Bulldogs .300 to .128 while compiling 10.5 team blocks to Gonzaga's six.
Adding to Burnett's effective play in the middle was 6-foot-4 freshman Kennedy Redding, who had seven kills on a .385 hitting percentage and four block assists.
"Cosy's such a great leader for us, being a fifth-year senior. I think she's blocking well, and offensively she's great," said BYU coach Heather Olmstead. "Kennedy, as well, is learning the position and got some kills as well. I think they complement each other and are doing a great job."
Helping BYU's cause considerably was getting out to a dominating start. A 7-2 run at the start of the first set gave way to a 9-2 run to close things out, as the Cougars were clicking on all cylinders from the outset.
"It's really important to come out focused and to make sure we're paying attention to our jobs to execute at a high level, and the girls did that," Olmstead said. "I think that rattled Gonzaga a little bit and we were able to go on a good run there."
The Cougars proved able to close out the match effectively with an 8-1 run to take the third set 25-16.
Also effective throughout was setter Lyndie Haddock, who had 33 assists while smashing through five kills on a stellar .714 hitting percentage.
With the win, BYU improves to 19-1 overall and 8-0 in West Coast Conference play. Next up is a West Coast swing where the Cougars will take on Pepperdine and then Loyola Marymount. Gonzaga falls to 11-9 overall and 6-2 in WCC play with the loss.
Just about everything has been going right for BYU in the early season, although the team is focused on keeping up its high level of play while hoping to avoid overlooking anyone.
"It's a scary thing and it's something that happens to teams. So we talk about it a lot," Burnett said. "We talk about how every game is a big game. The next game is the biggest game of the season, because it's the next game."