Freshman middle blocker Heather Gneiting and BYU women’s volleyball tied Utah, 2-2 (25-14, 21-25, 25-19, 23-25), on Saturday afternoon at the Smith Fieldhouse to begin spring competition.
Gneiting led the Cougars in kills (13) and blocks (eight). Lacy Haddock had nine kills, three blocks and an ace, while Veronica Jones-Perry collected eight kills, two blocks and two aces. Danelle Stetler added five blocks and four kills, Allison Stapleton had six kills and three blocks and McKenna Miller contributed eight kills in the match.
BYU started off strong as back-to-back kills from Jones-Perry helped push the Cougars to a 5-1 advantage in the first set. Utah got back within a point, down 6-5, but with Haddock at the service line, BYU went on a 5-0 run to lead 11-5. The Utes took a timeout trailing 16-8, but a pair of kills each from Gneiting and Haddock extended the lead to double digits at 23-13. The Cougars ultimately took the set, 25-14, on a kill from Jones-Perry.
Utah took a 5-4 edge to start the second set after a kill. BYU then took a 10-9 lead after a Gneiting kill, but the Utes slowly worked their way back in front at 20-16 following a 6-1 run. The Cougars got back within a pair at 22-20 following a kill from Gneiting, but it wasn’t enough as Utah won the set, 25-21, after a kill.
A block from Gneiting and Haddock gave BYU a 9-6 advantage to begin the third set. The Utes got back within one at 10-9 after a Cougar error, but kills from Stetler and Gneiting forced Utah into a timeout, trailing 12-9. The Utes then used three-straight blocks to get back in front, 13-12. BYU pulled back ahead with Tayler Tausinga at the service line, and two kills from the Cougars’ Stapleton then made it 19-15. BYU eventually took the set, 25-19, after a Stetler kill.
Two kills and double blocks from Emily Lewis and Gneiting gave the Cougars a 4-3 lead to start the fourth set. A Kiani Tuileta ace then helped push the BYU advantage to six at 13-7. A 7-1 Ute run evened the score at 14-apiece. The Cougars, however, followed that up with a 6-1 run of their own to retake the advantage at 20-15. The rallies continued with Utah scoring the next five-consecutive points to tie the set at 20-all. Two kills and a block then gave the Utes the close set, 25-23, evening the match at 2-2.
The Cougars next compete against the Utes in a rematch at the University of Utah on March 9, at 3 p.m. MST.
Royce Hinton is the men's and women's volleyball sports information director for BYU Athletic Communications.