MORAGA, Calif. — Junior outside hitter Veronica Jones-Perry helped push No. 8 BYU women’s volleyball to a five-set come-from-behind victory (22-25, 20-25, 25-20, 25-23, 15-10) against Saint Mary’s Thursday night at McKeon Pavilion.
"I'm proud of our team's fight tonight," BYU head coach Heather Olmstead said. "Things weren't going well for us, but we just never gave up. Saint Mary's played well and Rob (Browning) does a great job, so we knew his team would be prepared. We had some players step up and execute when it mattered, which was nice to see."
Veronica Jones-Perry led the Cougars with 24 kills to go with 11 digs for a double-double. Lyndie Haddock collected 46 assists and Mary Lake had 15 digs. Cosy Burnett contributed 12 kills and five blocks while Kennedy Redding added nine kills and six blocks. Taylen Ballard had eight kills and four blocks in the win.
BYU (16-1, 5-0 West Coast Conference) collected the first two points of the decisive fifth set from errors by Saint Mary’s (5-11, 1-5 WCC), taking a 2-0 lead. A pair of Haddock kills extended the lead to four, 6-2, forcing a timeout from the Gaels. A Haddock ace made it 11-4, and a Jones-Perry kill ended the set and match 15-10.
A Haddock dump kill helped BYU on a 4-0 run to go up 6-2 in the first set against Saint Mary’s. A service ace from Burnett extended the Cougars’ advantage to seven, 11-4. Back-to-back blocks from Haddock and Burnett made it 17-10, but an 8-1 rally from the Gaels brought them back within a point, down 19-18. With BYU up 22-20, Saint Mary’s scored the last five points to take the set 25-22.
A kill and ace from Jones-Perry made it 4-2 for the Cougars early in the second set. The Gaels scored 12 of the next 15 points, with help from five aces, to take a 14-7 advantage. BYU took a timeout down 19-11, and three blocks from Redding helped the Cougars get back within three, 23-20. The run proved too late as Saint Mary’s won the set 25-20 on a kill.
Three-straight errors from the Gaels helped BYU take a 7-3 third-set advantage. Saint Mary’s scored the next four points to even the score at 7-all. Consecutive kills from Jones-Perry pushed the Cougars up 12-9 and then again at 15-11. The Gaels got back within a point, down 17-16, after another service ace. BYU scored six of the next seven points to make it 23-17, but another ace from Saint Mary’s pushed it back within three, trailing 23-20. The Cougars then closed out the set 25-20 on a Jones-Perry kill.
A Jones-Perry ace put BYU ahead 6-4 to begin the fourth set. A kill down the line from Ballard made it 11-8, but the Gaels followed that with a 5-1 run to take a 13-12 advantage. The teams traded points until Saint Mary’s scored three-straight, forcing a Cougar timeout with BYU trailing 18-15. The Cougars then countered with a 5-0 run to retake the advantage at 20-18. The Gaels continued to compete, tying things at 23 apiece, but kills from Burnett and Jones-Perry gave BYU the 25-23 set win, forcing the decisive fifth set.