September 16, 2017
Orem — In a fun and spirited atmosphere No. 14-ranked BYU defeated Utah Valley 25-21, 22-25, 26-24, 25-17 in volleyball Saturday night at the Lockhart Arena.
Utah Valley went all out to provide a festive atmosphere as Alex Foye sang the national anthem and performed a musical number during the break between the second and third set. He also promoted his benefit concert for next Saturday at the UCCU Event Center, which is both raising money for the Mascot Miracle Foundation in its efforts to help terminally ill children, and to help with the relief efforts for Hurricane Harvey and Irma victims.
It was the third in-state match for BYU and the Cougars swept their foes (Weber State, Utah and Utah Valley) to run their overall record to 11-1 on the season. The Wolverines dropped to 5-10 with the loss.
However, the Wolverines showed some bite taking a set off the nationally ranked Cougars and pushing BYU in another losing 26-24. Statistically, Utah Valley had the edge on the net with 26 blocks versus 24 for BYU, but it was serving and receiving where BYU won the game.
“Our serving was solid,” said BYU head coach Heather Olmstead. “We did a good job on the pass-receive line setting up our hitters and we put a lot pressure on them getting them out of their system.”
Utah Valley head coach Sam Atoa had the same general assessment on how the match went.
“It was the serve and pass game (that was the difference). Give BYU credit, they took us out of our system and when it means winning a game by two or three, that’s huge,” stated Atoa.
Much credit has to go to defensive specialist Sydnie Martindale, libero Mary Lake and Danelle Stetler, who plays outside hitter but who had 20 serve receives and zero errors. In fact, BYU as a team had no errors on the night while Utah Valley had eight. Martindale had 22 receive chances while Lake had 21.
“We’re getting better and improving,” said Martindale, a junior transfer from Snow College who also prepped at Wasatch. “I know we can get better.”
Lake, who celebrated her 19th birthday with a win over a county rival was happy with the result.
“It was awesome. BYU had a great (fan) turnout and UVU provided a great atmosphere. Their band is loud, and it’s always exciting.”
Lake had 21 serve receives without an error, two aces, and led the Cougar defense with 25 digs.
Utah Valley also had no answer to the athleticism displayed by Roni Jones-Perry and McKenna Miller.
Jones-Perry had 23 kills and several came from the back row. Miller added 13.
Olmstead noted the efforts of Jones-Perry and Miller and the time they are putting in practice.
“They take a lot of swings each night and they are growing their range as hitters,” Olmstead related.
Jones-Perry, like Lake, said it was a fun week playing three in-state games but noted each win is equal in her view.
“I know there is a lot of attention on beating Utah, but a win is a win and winning this match was as sweet as winning the one (against Utah) on Thursday,” said Jones-Perry. “It was a good match, fun competitive volleyball.”
Another Cougar star was setter Lyndie Haddock who had 46 assists, two service aces, six blocks assists and one solo block. Cosy Burnett also shined for BYU hitting .368 with nine kills while having six block assists and one solo block.
The Wolverines got a stellar performance out of Madison Dennison who had 10 kills and hit .389 on the night. Dennison also had eight blocks assists. Lexi Thompson led the Wolverines with 12 kills.