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9th ranked BYU Women’s Volleyball opens season with 2 wins in BYU Nike Invitational

9th ranked BYU Volleyball opened the season by beating Boise State and Utah Valley on Friday. The Cougars host the annual BYU Nike Invitational at the Smith Fieldhouse, with Boise State, Utah Valley, and 16th ranked Marquette competing this year.

The Cougars hosted Boise State in the first match up on Friday, and it took little time for the Cougars to find their stride. The Cougars swept the Broncos, extending their home win streak to 25. The Broncos initially tried to avoid BYU Libero Mary Lake, but the Cougars adapted and Lake continued on her impressive 2018 season. The Cougars throttled the Broncos in the first set, finishing with a score of 25-13. The Cougars recorded 3 aces and 6 blocks in a dominant first set.

The second set was even through the 9-9, before BYU went on a run and extended their lead. Boise State called at timeout with BYU up 17-10, but it wasn’t enough to stop the Cougars. BYU would go on to win the set 25-21.

The third set opened 6-0 for the Cougars, and they led by a score of 20-11. The Cougars would eventually win the set 25-17, completing the sweep for the Cougars.

McKenna Miller was phenomenal in her return after her season ending ACL tear last fall, and the Broncos had no answer for her. Taylen Ballard-Nixon and Kennedy Eschenberg were also prolific, with Heather Gneiting having an impressive evening as well. Freshman Setter Whitney Bower was also impressive in her first start as a Cougar, recording 31 assists in the game.

The second game for the Cougars was against Utah Valley University in the “Crosstown Clash,” a series that the Cougars lead the Wolverines in by a tally of 14-0. Also of note, BYU is also now 9-0 against the Broncos and 3-0 against Marquette.

The Cougars opened strong against UVU, but couldn't create a large gap on the Wolverines. UVU would keep tight with the Cougars, and actually take a lead at 21-20. The Cougars would then score five straight points to secure the first set with a score of 25-21.

The Wolverines would continue to hang around the Cougars, but the Cougars experience and talent proved decisive, as they'd go on to win the second and third sets by a score of 25-21 and 25-20, respectively.

The Cougars host 16th ranked Marquette on Saturday night at the Smith Fieldhouse.