SANTA CLARA, Calif. – After being pushed in the opening two sets by Santa Clara volleyball, BYU showed why it is the top-ranked team in the country in the third.
Kennedy Eschenberg posted 10 kills and six total blocks, and Roni Jones-Perry tallied nine kills and eight digs to help the Cougars remain perfect on the season with a 25-19, 25-22, 25-13 victory over the Broncos in Saturday's West Coast Conference matchup.
Freshmen Michelle Shaffer (10) and Alexa Dreyer (seven) combined for 17 kills, and Chloe Loreen posted a match-best 12 digs for the Broncos (5-15, 0-8) who were out-hit .265 to .135 by BYU (18-0, 8-0).
After surviving the second set, which featured 10 ties, the Cougars scored the first six points in the third and led 12-2 by taking advantage of four attack errors from the Broncos. Two kills by Dreyer pulled Santa Clara within 13-5, but the that was as close at it got the remainder of the match.
BYU has dropped only one set this season in WCC play, but the Broncos were in position to even the match at one set apiece.
A kill by Santa Clara's Kamrin Caoili knotted the second set at 19-all, but Eschenberg answered with a kill as the Cougars scored three of the next four points and were able to close it out on a kill from Jones-Perry and an attack error.
"We were able to pass the ball inside out and took good swings," Santa Clara head coach Jon Wallace said. "I think our prep was very good."
In the opening set, BYU jumped out to an early lead and then fought off a Santa Clara rally.
After trailing 9-4, the Broncos tied it twice, including 15-all on a Dreyer kill. But the Cougars scored four of the next five points and Jones-Perry helped close it out with three of her five kills in the set.
Shaffer had seven kills on nine attempts in the opening set when the Broncos hit a match-best .200. But the Cougars also had their most proficient set, hitting .353.
Lyndie Haddock-Eppich had 31 of BYU's 33 assists to go along with seven digs.
Liliana Light had 18 assists and six digs for the Broncos who on Thursday lost at home to San Diego, the only other WCC team to take a set this season from the Cougars.
"We should be able to take some things away from the last two matches for sure," Wallace said. "We'll take some positives out of this. We're getting closer and closer."
• BYU leads the all-time 12-4 series and has won the last six meetings.
• BYU has dropped only five sets on the season.
• Shaffer posted double-digit kills for the eighth time this season, including second-straight match.
The Broncos close out their four-match homestand next week, playing Pacific on Thursday and Saint Mary's on Saturday.
CONNECT WITH THE BRONCOS ON SOCIAL MEDIA