Zags Drop To No. 18 BYU In Front Of Large Crowd
SPOKANE, Wash. - For the second consecutive match the Gonzaga University women's volleyball team hosted and lost to a AVCA top 25 ranked team when No. 18 BYU downed the Bulldogs 3-0 (25-21, 25-16, 25-22) in front of a record breaking 1,266 fans in the Martin Centre Thursday.
"At the beginning of the week we knew we had another top 20 program coming here for a battle," fourth-year head coach Dave Gantt said. "We had a nice crowd and we competed in front of them. There were times when the volleyball was not how we want it but we never quit."
The Zags are now victims of seven straight losses and currently are 9-14 overall and 1-9 in West Coast Conference matches. The Cougars improve to 20-2 with the victory and 8-2 in WCC play.
"We competed in the first set and our play throttled a little in the second," Gantt said. "In the third after we used our timeouts we forced them to use theirs. We needed to learn tonight that we can compete with great teams. BYU is very talented and it's encouraging when we do not back off like tonight."
The Bulldogs came out swinging in the first set but not at a high rate. Neither team hit at high level, Gonzaga at .081 and BYU at .167, but the set was pretty even.
Redshirt freshman Savannah Blinn had five of her 19 kills in the first but it was the more balanced BYU attack that did the Zags in. Senior Terran Poindexter picked up a kill to bring the set to 24-21 but a kill down the line from BYU's Jennifer Hamson ended the set.
Blinn would however pick up a service ace in the set adding to her WCC best of 42.
"There are a lot of things Savannah is doing now that is more natural than they were three weeks ago and three months ago," Gantt said. "She deserves the credit because she learning how to work. There are things we have been working on with her in practice and tonight she made a couple of moves were not in her skill set earlier this season."
In the second set BYU prevailed with an impress run to close the set. With the score 15-13 BYU went on a 10-3 to take a 2-0 lead. Blinn recorded 7 kills in the set and Freshman Jordan Gasser had five.
The third set was the toughest challenge for the Cougars. The Zags battled the entire set and would out kill BYU 19 to 15. However BYU hit at a .351 line and out blocked GU four to one.
Regardless Gonzaga made the set interesting by bringing to score 22-20 after being down by as many as six points. The Zags competed until the final point but an errant attempt by Blinn gave BYU the victory.
"It was encouraging to see the team fight through things," Gantt said. "If there is a good feeling after a loss, it's knowing that you really competed in the match. I thought we did that tonight."
In the match the Bulldogs would out kill (43 to 42), out dig (46 to 44) and record more service aces (3 to 2) than BYU which Gantt felt was a solid place to keep building upon.
"We need to maintain this and continue to push it," Gantt said. "The biggest thing is we competed."
Gonzaga returns to action Saturday when the team travels to Los Angeles, Calif., to take on Loyola Marymount at noon.