Senior outside hitter Roni Jones-Perry helped No. 3 BYU women’s volleyball past No. 10 USC in straight sets (30-28, 25-21, 25-14) Friday morning at the Al McGuire Center in the first match of the Marquette Invitational.
“Our team was really focused and came out with good energy this morning,” BYU head coach Heather Olmstead said. “I liked the way we served and played defense. I'm proud of the way Roni attacked. She took good, high swings.”
Jones-Perry led the Cougars with 26 kills (one shy of the three-set BYU rally-scoring era record) on a .442 clip. Lyndie Haddock-Eppich contributed 34 assists and 11 digs, while Mary Lake added 15 digs. Heather Gneiting put up four blocks, and Danelle Stetler had 10 digs. McKenna Miller collected eight kills and a career-high five aces, while Kiani Moea’i put up three aces in the win.
USC (5-2) took a 5-2 lead against BYU (6-0) to start the match after four-straight kills. The Cougars came back to even the score at 8-8 following an ace and kill from Miller. A 5-1 Women of Troy run pushed USC ahead, 16-13, forcing Olmstead to take a timeout. The Women of Troy remained in front by three before a trio of Jones-Perry kills tied things up at 21-all. BYU had two set points before USC took two of its own, ahead 27-26. The Cougars had another pair of set points before ultimately taking the set, 30-28, on an out-of-system kill by Miller.
Jones-Perry gave BYU its first three points of the second set as it led 3-1 early on. The Cougars were ahead four, 6-2, following back-to-back Miller kills, but the Women of Troy went on a 4-0 run after an ace to even the score at 6-6. The teams remained neck-and-neck until three-straight Miller aces pushed the Cougars back in front, 13-10. Two-consecutive Haddock-Eppich kills made it 17-12, forcing USC to use its second timeout of the set. The Women of Troy slowly worked their way back into the set, trailing by two at 19-17 following consecutive BYU errors. The Cougars led by as many as four again at 23-19 before BYU took the set, 25-21, from two more Jones-Perry kills.6 comments on this story
An ace each from Miller and Moea’i gave the Cougars a 6-1 advantage to start the third set. A Gneiting and Haddock-Eppich block then extended BYU’s lead to eight at 13-5. Three more kills from Jones-Perry, a Moea’i ace and a Haddock-Eppich kill gave the Cougars a double-digit lead, 18-8. The two sides traded points from there until two final Jones-Perry kills ended the set and match for BYU at 25-14.
The Cougars next play Syracuse on Friday, Sept. 7, at 5 p.m. CDT, also at the Al McGuire Center. The match will be streamed on Facebook Live, and a link to live stats can be found on the BYU women’s volleyball schedule page.