SANTA CLARA, Calif. – Senior libero Mary Lake became the all-time career digs leader at BYU as the 11th-ranked Cougars knocked off Santa Clara 3-1 (25-22, 20-25, 25-23, 25-18) on Thursday.
Lake secured the program record midway through the third set, passing former Cougar Ciara Parker’s previous mark of 1,793 digs set from 2012-15. The All-American finished with a season-high 21 digs on the night, becoming the first player ever at BYU to surpass the 1,800-dig mark.
“I’m very proud of the team effort tonight,” BYU head coach Heather Olmstead said. “Mary was phenomenal and I’m so happy for her to be able to break the all-time digs record. She works hard every day and she deserves it. Santa Clara played inspired tonight and we had to bring our very best.”
Sophomore outside hitter Madelyn Robinson had her second career double-double, finishing with 15 kills and a career-high 12 digs. Senior outside hitter McKenna Miller contributed 14 kills, five digs and three aces while freshman setter Whitney Bower had 38 assists, seven digs, six kills and five blocks. Senior outside hitter Riley Lyman added a career-high 11 digs as well.
BYU’s 73 team digs are the most since 89 against Baylor in 2017 and the most in a four-set match since 2015 against Pepperdine.
Santa Clara maintained the advantage almost the entire first set, setting the Broncos up with a 22-20 lead late. After scoring only as many as three in a row in the set, the Cougars reeled off the match’s last five points to win, 25-22. A service error and attack error by Santa Clara started things off, then Lake dropped an ace before Robinson connected on consecutive kills to end the set. Robinson paced BYU with five kills and five digs.
Despite committing seven service errors, Santa Clara hit .405 to take the second set, 25-20. The Cougars took a 16-15 lead, but the Broncos proceeded to score the next five points to go up 20-16. This time Santa Clara never looked back, exchanging points with BYU until winning the set by five.
Miller set the tone with a service ace as the Cougars raced out to an 8-2 lead early in Set 3. The Broncos chipped away at the lead slowly, getting to within two at 21-19. But late kills by Taylen Ballard-Nixon, Robinson and Miller held off the attempted comeback, giving BYU the 25-23 win.
BYU turned a 3-2 deficit into a 10-3 lead in Set 4 behind the serve of sophomore Tayler Tausinga. Tausinga had one ace and kept the Bronco attack unsteady, contributing to four Santa Clara attack errors during the run. The Broncos again made an effort to claw back into the set, but never could get closer than three points. A kill by Ballard-Nixon and an attack error sandwiched between two aces by Miller gave BYU the final four points and finished off the match, 25-18.
BYU will finish the week at San Francisco on Saturday, Nov. 9, at noon PT.