Chritina Measom and the Cougars will take on three teams in three days at the Ameritas Players Challenge hosted by Nebraska this weekend. (Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)
PROVO -- Coming off a second-place finish at the BYU Nike Classic, the BYU women’s volleyball team (4-3) travels to Nebraska Thursday-Saturday for the Ameritas Players Challenge hosted by the Huskers. The Cougars will take on No. 8 UCLA (5-1), No. 5 Nebraska (5-1) and Virginia (4-2).
The Cougars will play UCLA at 4:30 p.m. CT on Thursday, Nebraska at 7 p.m. CT on Friday and Virginia at 4 p.m. CT.
“Not many get to play in front of a crowd like what they have in Nebraska and we are looking forward to a great experience,” said BYU head coach Shay Goulding. “It is going to be an awesome opportunity to end our preseason tournament play with Nebraska, UCLA and Virginia. It is going to prepare us well to open conference in the next couple of weeks.”
BYU downed Weber State in three in the second match of the Nike Classic, but brought Cal Poly and Kansas State to five sets, dropping one to Kansas State – the winner of the tournament. Despite a second-place finish in the Nike Classic, two Cougars, Kayla Walker and Christie Carpenter, were named to the all-tournament team.
Senior rightside hitter Walker led her team, posting her first double-double of the season with 14 kills and 17 digs against the No. 23-ranked Kansas State Wildcats at the Nike Classic. The Cougars went 2-1 in the tournament placing second as a result of Walker’s solid play each game as she was named to the All-Tournament team. Against Weber State, she led the offense with nine kills, downing the Wildcats in three. Against Cal Poly Walker had 22 kills and hit at .314. Earlier in the week against instate-rival Utah State, Walker posted a career-high 25 kills, hitting at .288 and also tallying nine digs and two blocks.
Sophomore outside hitter Carpenter posted seven kills five digs and six blocks against Cal Poly in the first match of the tournament and improved each game. Against Weber State she had five kills, three service aces, five digs, one solo block and three blocking assists. In the tough battle against No. 23 Kansas State, Carpenter tallied five kills, one service ace, four digs and four blocks.
Saturday against Kansas State was a night of records for the Cougars as Walker recorded a double-double with 14 kills and 17 digs. Nicole Warner tallied a career-high in kills with 12, while sophomore Casey Speredon Thurston also landed a career-high with nine kills. Morgan Lloyd Sorensen also recorded a career-high 24 digs.
The Cougars will look to keep improving set by set this weekend playing against two more ranked teams before the regular conference season starts Sept. 17 when they will host San Diego State at 7 p.m. in the Smith Fieldhouse.