SALT LAKE CITY (Sept. 10, 2011)—The BYU women’s volleyball team took the Deseret First Duel trophy to advance BYU’s overall Duel score to 6-0 with a 3-0 (25-20, 25-17, 25-14) victory against Utah in the Utah Invitational Saturday.
The win also gave the Cougars (9-2) their second tournament title of the season and increased their win streak to eight straight matches.
"We played pretty well overall," BYU head coach Shawn Olmstead said. "There were times when we could have been better, but we finished off on a really high note. Overall, you couldn't ask for anything more."
Jennifer Hamson once again led the team with 15 kills and 11 digs. Christie Carpenter had seven kills, as did Casey Thurston. Heather Hannemann also had her second double-double of the tournament with 34 assists and 10 digs. Kendalyn Hartsock recorded 14 digs and Nicole Warner set a new season-high of nine blocks.
Back-and-forth scoring began the match. The Utes (5-3) took the first lead on back-to-back aces, but the Cougars rallied to jump ahead after a 4-4 tie. BYU stayed in the lead for its next five points until Utah caught up at 9-9 on another ace from Lea Adolph. Three more ties passed before BYU broke away again for a 16-13 lead. Hamson hammered out five kills in the first game, hitting 100 percent to give BYU the momentum it needed. The Cougars advanced on Utah errors, but the Utes stayed within three until a 4-0 streak gave the set to BYU 25-20.
BYU didn’t give Utah time to regroup, going up 5-2 with the help of Carpenter’s aces and a kill from Hamson. Middle blocker Kathryn LeCheminant fueled a 5-1 run that put BYU ahead 10-5 with two kills. Hamson continued to prove too much for the Utes to handle, packing in three kills to help the Cougars to a 17-7 lead. Utah tried to get back in rhythm, but only managed to cut BYU’s lead to seven before senior outside hitter Casey Thurston took the 25-17 set on a kill. Hamson reached double figures in kills during the second set, adding five more to her total.
The Cougars wavered under a 4-1 Utah drive before Thurston tied the set at 4-4. A Hamson-Warner block swept BYU past the Utes and sparked four more points for the Cougars for a 10-5 lead. Hamson led the charge with three straight kills and a block, putting the Cougar victory in sight. Hamson threw down an ace to win the set, match and tournament for BYU.
Hamson and Hannemann scored all-tournament honors and Carpenter was named tournament MVP.
The Cougars take on in-state opponent Utah State Tuesday at 7 p.m. in Logan, Utah.
BYU vs. Utah Box