BYU wvb McKenna Miller take charge

BYU senior outside hitter McKenna Miller celebrates with her teammates during a volleyball match in the Smith Fieldhouse this season.

For the first time in five weeks, the BYU women’s volleyball is trying to figure out how to respond after a loss.

To complicate matters, the Cougars are making their toughest road trip of the conference season.

BYU dropped a 3-1 decision to No. 3 Texas at the Shocker Volleyball Classic on Sept. 13 then ripped off a 10-match win streak. That included victories at No. 18 Utah and No. 2 Stanford followed by six sweeps in their first seven West Coast Conference games.

That run ended last Saturday in the Smith Fieldhouse in a 3-2 loss to San Diego, which moved into the Top 25 this week at No. 22.

“I think it was just a good learning experience,” BYU senior outside hitter McKenna Miller said. “We can’t just expect to win every home game. We have to show up and perform. The loss showed us the things need to get better at and be more consistent at.”

After the match, BYU coach Heather Olmstead pointed at passing and serve receive as two of those areas. When the Cougars passed well and were in system, they scored. When they didn’t pass well, the Toreros took advantage.

“I think all of us are really bummed, but we’re excited to come back in the gym and get better,” Miller said. “We know what we have to work on and we get to work on those things before our next matches.”

This week’s road trip begins at Loyola Marymount in Los Angeles. The Lions are 6-2 in league play, with losses to BYU and Pepperdine. On Oct. 1, LMU pushed the Cougars to five sets, rallying from a 2-0 deficit to force the fifth. BYU won the fifth set 15-7 and displayed a balanced attack with four players in double figure kills, led by Miller with 14.

The Lions are also well balanced with Megan Rice (3.76 kills per set), Rose Booth (3.49 kps) and Savannah Slattery (3.36 kps) leading the way. Booth and Rice combined for 34 kills in the loss at BYU. LMU is coming off a pair of 3-2 wins in league play against Saint Mary’s and Pacific.

There is also this: The Lions swept BYU 3-0 last year in Los Angeles at the end of the WCC season, ruining the Cougars perfect season and No. 1 ranking.

BYU, now ranked No. 12, stays on the road and plays at Pepperdine, also 6-2 in league play, on Saturday.

Follow Darnell Dickson on Twitter @darnellwrites or e-mail him at ddickson@heraldextra.com.

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