BYU vb celebrate photo

SPOKANE, Wash. - No. 9 BYU women's volleyball opened West Coast Conference play with a victory at Gonzaga 3-0 (25-13, 25-13, 25-17) on Thursday.

Setter Whitney Bower and the Cougars spread the ball around well, with five players totaling five kills or more. Senior McKenna Miller had a match-high 13 kills, freshman Kate Grimmer had 10 while sophomore Madelyn Robinson hit a career best .692 with nine kills on 13 attacks and no errors.

BYU hit a season-high .393 while holding Gonzaga to .022, a season low for the Cougar defense.

Sophomore Heather Gneiting totaled seven blocks, five kills and two aces; junior Kennedy Eschenberg added six kills and three blocks; and senior Mary Lake tacked on eight digs and five assists.

The win is BYU's 14th in a row over the Zags, including five straight sweeps.

Grimmer was unstoppable in the first frame, putting down six kills on seven swings. BYU broke things open with a 9-1 run to take a 18-9 lead. Gneiting had two kills and an ace during the run. Back-to-back kills by Madelyn Robinson finished off the set.

The Bulldogs bounced back early to take a 5-1 lead in Set 2. Thanks to two kill from Gneiting and three blocks by the Cougars, BYU tied the game at 7-7. With the set at 10-10, the Cougars would go on to score 15 of the next 18 points to win, 25-13. During an 8-0 run that put the set away, Miller served three aces to catapult BYU to the win.

Gonzaga held the lead in Set 3 until 11-10 before the Cougars pulled away yet again. BYU scored five-straight points, getting kills from Miller, Grimmer, Eschenberg and Robinson with a Bulldog attack error. BYU held on the rest of the way, with Miller's final kill ending the match at 25-17.

BYU stays on the road for its second game of the week, traveling to Portland to play the Pilots on Saturday, Sept. 28, at noon PT.

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

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