What looked like an easy sweep quickly turned into a thrilling five-set match on Senior Night at the Smith Fieldhouse as BYU beat Pepperdine 3-2 (25-15, 25-19, 20-25, 20-25, 15-3).
Before the game, BYU honored Seniors Kiani Moea’i, Riley Lyman, McKenna Miller, and Mary Lake. Miller and Lake have been fan favorites during BYU’s recent run of success, and both played exceptionally well on the night. Miller led BYU with 18 kills, 8 digs, and 2 blocks, while Lake had 15 digs, four assists, and an ace. Freshman Whitney Bower was also great on the night with 46 assists, 11 digs, and 3 blocks.
BYU won the first two sets comfortably, and a sweep looked likely following the second set. However, Pepperdine wouldn’t go away and managed to keep BYU from winning the fourth and fifth sets with an excellent defensive display, recording 56 digs in the match.
BYU finally decided to end things in the fifth set, which they dominated with ruthless play, winning 15-3. The Cougars went up 5-1 before then extending a lead to 12-2. They would finish the match on a service ace by Moea’i.
BYU finished the regular season 25-4 and 16-2 in conference play. Unfortunately it wasn’t enough to win the WCC this year, the first time since 2013 that they haven’t won at least a share of the title. It is, however, the sixth straight year that BYU has lost less than five matches in a season, a streak that began with the 2014 season.
BYU now awaits their seeding for the NCAA tournament. Currently ranked 13th, BYU has two wins over ranked opponents in Stanford(currently #3) and Utah(#17). All four of BYU’s losses on the season came to ranked opponents in Texas(#4), Marquette(#12), and two from San Diego(#20). BYU will likely host at least the first two rounds of the NCAA Tournament at the Smith Fieldhouse. The NCAA Selection Show will be Sunday, December 1 at 6:30 p.m. MST.