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VB | No. 8 BYU Battles Back Against Gaels

Oct. 5, 2017

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MORAGA, Calif. — The Saint Mary’s women’s volleyball played right alongside another nationally ranked opponent Thursday, but it was No. 8 BYU who escaped with a thrilling five-set West Coast Conference victory, fighting back from being down 2-0 to win 3-2 (22-25, 20-25, 25-25, 25-23, 15-10) at McKeon Pavilion.

HOW IT HAPPENED

  • Saint Mary’s (5-11, 1-5 WCC) started slow in set one, trailing the No. 8 Cougars (16-1, 5-0 WCC) 11-4 and 18-10. But it charged back with an 8-1 run on multiple kills from Lindsey Calvin and Lindsey Knudsen. Then, still trailing 22-20, the Gaels grabbed a 1-0 match advantage by closing the first frame on a 5-0 sprint with two more kills from Knudsen and accenting it with an ace from Alexsa “Crash” Parker

  • SMC grabbed a 9-6 lead in the early goings of set two thanks to a 7-2 run anchored by four more service aces - two from Parker and two from Knudsen. The Gaels would never relinquish the lead, fighting off a late 8-2 BYU run in winning, 25-20, and taking a 2-0 match lead.

  • BYU worked its way back into the match by winning sets three and four, but it did not come easy. Saint Mary’s was only trailing by one point in set three at 17-16 before the Cougars went on a 6-1 run to secure an eventual 25-20 win. The fourth set was an even bigger battle featuring 14 ties and six lead changes, but BYU closed it out on a 5-2 run to overcome a late, 21-20 SMC lead and tie the match at 2-2.

  • The Cougars took control in the final period, running out to 6-2, 9-3 and 11-4 leads before closing out the comeback victory with a 15-10 win. BYU was nearly perfect in the final frame with nine kills and only one error. Saint Mary’s hit .174 in the set compared to BYU’s .421.

MATCH HIGHLIGHTS

  • Saint Mary’s serving game was on point Thursday, notching 14 aces -- the third-most ever in SMC history for a single match and just two off the program record of 16.

  • Knudsen posted her first double-double of the season with a team-high 17 kills and 16 digs. She hit a team-best .455 and also added three aces, two blocks and an assist. Parker also had a double-double, her team-leading fourth of the year, with 31 assists and 10 digs.

  • Sienna Young tallied her third double-figure kills performance in the last four matches with 15. Jennifer “Boo” Laird gave Saint Mary’s three players with double-digit kills, adding 10 of her own.

  • Veronica Jones-Perry led all players with 24 kills. She notched a double-double with 11 digs and also had three blocks and two assists.

Rob Browning BITES

  • They decided on their own that they knew they could play at a higher level and they needed to just kind of embrace the moment, have a ton of fun, bring a lot of energy. We’ve played like that a bunch this year but we haven’t done it recently. It was good. It was great to see. It wasn’t any kind of a fluke. That’s how good we are.”

  • “I told them early in (set one), ‘Don’t change anything. We’ll be fine. You’re not going to keep making errors like that. Just keep playing the way you’re playing.’ And they did, and came back and won against a really good team.”

  • “It’s just a matter of continuing to play at the same level. It’s not about, ‘OK now we need to do something different because it’s close or it’s match point.’ You just have to keep playing the same way. BYU did a good job of coming back. They responded well after the second set. But it’s just a matter of maintaining. You just keep doing the same things and you don’t let anything else affect you, and we didn’t do that tonight.”

COMING UP

  • Saint Mary’s continues its home stand with another nationally ranked opponent on Saturday, hosting No. 19 San Diego at 1 p.m. Tickets are available for purchase at SMCGaels.com or by calling the SMC Ticket Office at (925) 631-GoTx.

 

 

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