PROVO — Lone Peak and Pleasant Grove high schools are at odds in most prep athletic events, but the two programs apparently work well at the collegiate level. At least in the case of Pleasant Grove's Heather Gneiting and Lone Peak's Madelyn Robinson, who both played key roles in lifting the No. 1 BYU women's volleyball team past visiting Portland on Saturday in straight sets (25-14, 25-15, 25-18.)
Gneiting, who starts at middle blocker, contributed seven kills on just nine attempts along with three block assists in the win. Robinson, who came off the bench at outside hitter, added eight kills on 14 attempts.
Both freshmen played consistent throughout the match and earned praise from BYU coach Heather Olmstead.
"Heather has done well figuring out our offensive system, and she's on time. She swings high with range, and it's hard to stop her," Olmstead said. "And then Madi (Robinson) is doing a great job with those same things, pretty much. They both played great today."
Leading the team on the stat sheet on Saturday was again senior Roni Jones-Perry, who contributed 13 kills on a .370 hitting percentage. McKenna Miller added six kills on a .250 hitting percentage, with the team compiling a .337 hitting percentage as a team.
"Portland is a real scrappy team, but we served and passed really well," Olmstead said. "We had to take a lot more swings today than we perhaps have against other opponents, but I like how our players stayed after it, and I like how everyone contributed."
Leading the Cougars in digs was libero Mary Lake, who tallied 12 with setter Lyndie Haddock-Eppich adding seven digs and 29 assists.
Each set in Saturday's win saw the Cougars compile big runs in the middle of the set to stretch the lead and then cruise to yet another straight-set win. All but two of the Cougars' 15 wins on the year have come in straight sets this season, which has Olmstead's team standing with the top ranking nationally.1 comment on this story
Although the Cougars have featured several veterans, it's a well-rounded team that relies on young freshmen, such as Gneiting and Robinson, among others.
"We have a roster full of girls who all want to compete and contribute," Olmstead said. "I really like that mentality, and it helps everyone. It's a team that supports one another, but also pushes one another, which is what you want to have as a coach."
With the win on Saturday, the Cougars improve to a perfect 15-0 on the year and 5-0 in West Coast Conference play. Next up is a match on the road versus San Diego on October 5.