(Photo by BYU Photo/Jaren Wilkey)
HONOLULU – Baylor upset No. 10 BYU women’s volleyball in five sets (21-25, 22-25, 25-18, 28-26, 15-10) Saturday evening to finish play in the Outrigger Resorts Volleyball Challenge.
"We learned a lot about ourselves today and the kind of focus it takes to win a match," BYU head coach Heather Olmstead said. "We had opportunities to close it and didn't get it done. Baylor played fantastic defense and made it really hard for us to get kills. We'll keep working hard to get better."
Miller led the Cougars with a season-high 24 kills. Lyndie Haddock set the team with 47 assists along with 12 digs while Mary Lake had 21 digs. Cosy Burnett contributed seven blocks to go with 10 kills and Veronica Jones-Perry collected 12 kills and 10 digs for her first career double-double.
A Haddock service ace gave BYU (8-1) a 4-3 edge to start the decisive fifth set. Baylor (6-3) surged ahead with a 4-1 run to take a 7-5 advantage. The Cougars struggled to find an offensive rhythm as the Bears cruised from there, taking the set and match 15-10 from a kill.
A pair of Danelle Stetler kills kept BYU even with Baylor at 5-5 to start the first set. The Bears used a 5-1 run to take an 11-8 lead, but consecutive Kennedy Redding blocks brought the Cougars back within a point, trailing 13-12. Fueled by BYU errors, Baylor went on a 5-2 rally to go up 18-14. The Cougars countered with a 6-2 run, capped off by a Jones-Perry ace, to take a 20-19 edge. BYU ended the set on a 4-0 run to take the set 25-20.
A trio of kills from Miller helped the Cougars take a 7-5 lead early in the second set. Another Jones-Perry ace extended the BYU lead to four, 12-8, forcing a timeout from the Bears. The Cougars stayed ahead at 17-14 before a 3-1 rally from Baylor tied the score at 21-all. An attack error from the Bears gave BYU set point, and a Jones-Perry kill ended the set 25-22.
Baylor jumped out to an 8-4 lead in the third set, and extended it to six at 13-7 following a kill. The Cougars countered with a 4-0 run, including a Miller and Redding block, to get back within a pair, down 13-11. A 5-1 Bear rally ensued, increasing the Baylor lead back to six, 18-12. The Bears maintained their advantage through the rest of the set, winning it 25-18 on a kill.
BYU took a 6-4 lead to start the fourth set, but Baylor took control by scoring the next four-straight points to go up 8-6. A Burnett and Miller block knotted up the score at 14 apiece. The Bears then surged ahead 21-19, forcing a timeout from the Cougars. BYU took a 23-22 advantage from a Baylor attack error, but the Bears rallied to take the set in extra points, 28-26, forcing the decisive fifth set.
Following the last match of the day BYU, Baylor and Hawai'i all ended the invitational with a 2-1 record. After tie-breakers, BYU was declared the winner of the tournament, and Miller was named the Most Valuable Player and added to the all-tournament team along with Jones-Perry and Lake.
The Cougars next face Utah in the Deseret First Duel in Salt Lake City Thursday, Sept. 14, at 7 p.m. MDT. The match will be televised live on the Pac-12 Network. Links to a video stream and live stats can be found on the BYU women’s volleyball schedule page.