The BYU women's volleyball team is in a place it hasn't been for decades — on top of the nation.
For the first time since 1986, the Cougars are ranked No. 1 in the nation in the AVCA Volleyball coaches poll. It's their fifth top-ranking but the previous ones were all three-plus decades ago.
BYU, now 8-0, is one of only nine undefeated squads in the country, having most recently defeated No. 25 Marquette 3-1 in Milwaukee. The Cougars also beat then-10th-ranked USC and previously undefeated Syracuse in the Marquette Invitational.
BYU players Lyndie Haddock-Eppich and Roni Jones-Perry (MVP) were named to the all-tournament team.
The Cougars were ranked No. 3 before their impressive weekend in Wisconsin, which wrapped up with the 23-25, 25-22, 25-20, 25-14 win at the Al McGuire Center.
Jones-Perry earned her MVP status by racking up 23 kills, three aces and seven digs to help BYU bounce back after a first-set loss on Marquette's home court. Haddock-Eppich guided the Cougars with 56 assists, and Mary Lake chipped in with 26 digs.
In addition, BYU received solid showings from Kennedy Eschenberg (eight blocks), McKenna Miller (16 kills, .438 clip) and Heather Gneiting (.571, nine kills) in the impressive victory.
“We showed some nice composure losing the first set and being down in the second set,” BYU head coach Heather Olmstead told byucougars.com. “Kennedy (Eschenberg) had a few big-time blocks that really changed the momentum. I'm proud of the team for fighting the entire match.”
BYU finishes its nonconference schedule this week, first at home Thursday at teh Smith Fieldhouse against No. 24 Utah (7 p.m.). The match will be televised live on BYUtv. BYU then takes to the road to face instate foe Weber State in Ogden.
The complete rankings:
1. BYU; 2. Stanford; 3. Texas; 4. Nebraska; 5. Penn State; 6. Wisconsin; 7. Minnesota; 8. Illinois; 9. Pittsburgh; 10. Creighton; 11. Florida; 12. Oregon; 13. Washington; 14. Cal Poly; 15. Purdue; 16. USC and UCLA; 18. Baylor; 19. Michigan; 20. Kentucky; 21. Marquette; 22. Washington State; 23. San Diego; 24. Utah; 25. Alabama.