The chants of, “Go Cougars” echoed throughout the Martin Centre after No. 11 BYU dispatched Gonzaga Saturday afternoon.
BYU swept the Bulldogs in straight sets to win 3-0, which marked the 14th loss in 15 tries against the Cougars. BYU has not lost to GU since they joined the West Coast Conference in 2011.
A season-best crowd of 838 attended the match, and as always, the team from Provo, Utah, brought their well-traveled fans. Though the crowd was mostly Zags, the Cougar fan base was consistently more involved and loud after every touch.
Assistant coach Ashley Allen said her team had more issues than just the noise from the crowd.
“I think they always bring a presence that takes away from your home court advantage, but today was not about the crowd,” she said. “It was a lot about us.”
In the first set, the Zags had nine attacking errors, a particularly sloppy start for a team that played fairly well against No. 5 San Diego a few days ago.
The error issues arose when the Zags dropped a few points at the beginning with poor receiving and passing. BYU capitalized and took control of the first set.
“Our serve-receive-passing didn’t start out great and it put us in a position where they knew where our hitters were going to be and our hitters weren’t getting sets from a desirable position, so it made it difficult to run an offense,” Allen said.
Their offense never found a consistent groove and BYU fed off their fans to take out the Bulldogs who dropped to 11-7 (4-4 in WCC) on the season.
“I think we got under more pressure and we just started swinging really hard and lost the smart part of the game,” Allen said.
The Zags were out-blocked for the seventh time this season and they fell to 2-5 on the season.
GU gets a week to rest for its next matchup against Portland next Saturday in the Martin Centre. Portland comes off a 1-1 home stand where it beat BYU and lost to San Diego.
This is midterm week for the Zags and Allen wants her players to get caught up on both school and sleep.
“We will probably rest a bit, and it is midterms week so the girls need to catch up on rest,” she said. “We have a few injuries, a few sicknesses, so we’re just getting everyone healthy again and start to prep for Portland.”