Senior Bryn Porter recorded her eighth double-double in the Cougars' victory. (Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)
PROVO -- In a tense contest the BYU women’s volleyball team defeated No. 15 Colorado State over five hard-fought sets (25-19, 25-19, 16-25, 23-25, 22-20) on Elaine Michaelis Court Thursday night. With the win the Cougars improve to 13-12 overall and 6-9 in the Mountain West Conference.
"These players certainly deserve this win," said BYU head coach Shay Goulding. "We've played really well the last few weeks but still come up short in a couple matches we thought we should've had. We've had a tough season, and we just wanted to win. This is their last weekend, and they wanted to shine."
Heading into the contest the Cougars looked outmatched by the Rams who led the MWC heading into the match. Despite the odds, senior middle blocker Rachel Dyer controlled the net while putting up a double-double with 14 kills and a season-high 10 blocks. Senior outside hitter Bryn Porter recorded her eighth double-double with 11 kills and 13 digs. Junior outside hitter Kayla Walker added to the effort, putting down a team-best 16 kills while sophomore setter Kiana Rogers totaled 50 assists, 14 digs with a career-high six blocks. The outstanding performances gave way to BYU’s unbelievable win.
In shocking fashion the Cougars jumped ahead of the stunned Rams, taking two straight sets, before the Rams came to life in the third and fourth frames. BYU answered back in the fifth set, battling to a 22-20 final score for the win.
In the first set the Cougars earned a hard-fought victory. Junior middle blocker Ashton Hansen-Hosford brought down the first kill of the game to put BYU up. After a neck-and-neck battle through the first 10 points of the set, BYU jumped ahead 13-10 and never looked back. Sophomore outsider hitter Christina Measom had five kills alone in the first set, while BYU depended upon its play at the net to hold back the fierce Ram hitters. The team totaled five blocks and held CSU to two.
The Cougars took nothing off their bite heading into the second set as they lengthened their lead two sets to none. The Rams battled hard as the two teams stayed within two points of each other through the first 20 points. BYU’s aggressive attack at the net lent to its resiliency against CSU. Rogers controlled the offense with 24 assists after two games with even distribution between the Cougar hitters.
Both teams were plagued with hitting and passing errors in the third set. BYU trailed the Rams before back-to-back blocks gave the Cougars their first lead, 10-9. CSU quickly regained the advantage with five unanswered points. With continued hitting errors, BYU was unable to overcome the deficit as CSU sprinted to a 25-16 win over the Cougars.
The fourth set proved much like the third for the Cougar hitters. The two teams battled back and forth until CSU took a three-point lead. After successful stints at the net blocking, BYU struggled to contain the Ram hitters until a momentum-shifting double block gave the Cougars a 15-14 lead. Walker put down a big hit for BYU to stretch to a two-point lead before a timeout.
The Rams tied the game coming out of the timeout, and strong blocking made way for a 22-18 lead. The Cougars battled back, coming within one point before the Rams finished with a 25-23 fourth set win, forcing a deciding set five.
In the final set super-charged CSU jumped out to a 5-1 lead. The Cougars climbed out of the four-point hole, tying the game a 9-9. Led by the offensive efforts of Dyer and Porter, BYU battled the Rams point-for-point until Dyer’s back-to-back kills put BYU up 21-20. On game point Rogers launched a set outside which Porter hit off the hand of CSU blockers for a 22-20 win.
The jubilant Cougars return to the court for their final match of the regular season Saturday. BYU faces the Wyoming Cowgirls at 7 p.m.