(Photo by Jaren Wilkey/BYU Photo)
PROVO, Utah – The No. 13 BYU women’s volleyball team finished the 2013 season with a 24-7 overall record and a second-consecutive trip to the round of 16 in the NCAA tournament.
BYU head coach Shawn Olmstead finished his third season at the helm of the Cougars, sporting an overall record of 73-20.
Along with the regional semifinal finish, sophomore Alexa Gray received All-America honors. She was named an AVCA Third-Team All-American.
The Cougars were still adjusting to play early on in the season after redshirting All-American Jennifer Hamson, going 3-3 in early tournament matches. Following a loss to Oklahoma, however, the Cougars went on a 13-match win streak that was capped off by a sweep of then No. 2 San Diego.
BYU also clinched the Deseret First Duel trophy, the team’s third-straight duel victory with a 3-2 win on the road at Utah.
The Cougars began conference play 10-0, beating every conference opponent to lead the league. A five-set thriller against Saint Mary’s on the road gave the Cougars their first league loss of the season.
BYU finished second in the West Coast Conference after dropping another five-set battle on the road to No. 9 San Diego for sole possession of the conference title.
The Cougars received an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament and traveled to Honolulu, Hawaii for the first two rounds of play.
To start things off, BYU beat Pac-12 foe Arizona State in five sets to advance to the second round, where they swept No. 11 Hawaii on its home court.
The Cougars then traveled to Los Angeles for the regional semifinals, facing No. 6 USC on its home court. The Trojans won the contest 3-1.
Despite the loss, BYU finished the season ranked No. 13 in the final AVCA Coaches’ Poll.
In addition to her All-America honors, Gray was named this season to the AVCA All-Pacific South Region team and was listed as a first-team All-WCC player. She collected a WCC Player of the Week award in September. Additionally, Gray was added to the NCAA Los Angeles Region All-Tournament Team and Hampton Inn Invitational All-Tournament Team.
Sophomore setter Camry Godfrey was named AVCA All-Pacific South Region Honorable Mention.
Senior middle blocker Kathryn LeCheminant was added to the All-WCC first team with Gray. Junior outside hitter Tambre Haddock and sophomore libero Ciara Parker received All-WCC Honorable Mention accolades. Freshman middle blocker Whitney Young was named the WCC Freshman of the Year, giving the Cougars two-straight freshmen of the year after Gray received the award in 2012.
Parker and junior defensive specialist Tia Withers Welling were added to the WCC Volleyball All-Academic team.
Gray led the team with 3.97 kills per set, hitting a .305 clip. She finished the season ranked No. 45 nationally in kills per set and No. 50 in points per set.
Young led the team and the WCC in blocks, averaging 1.53 blocks per set and finishing the season ranked No. 9 nationally. She also had the highest hitting percentage of the Cougars, hitting a .413 clip.
Looking ahead to the 2014 season, BYU will lose three seniors, including starter LeCheminant. The team will return five sophomores, five juniors and five seniors to next year’s squad.