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.

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