(Photo by Jaren Wilkey/BYU Photo)
PROVO, Utah --The No. 21 BYU women’s volleyball team came out strong during its first home match of the season, defeating rival University of Utah 3-0 (24-14, 25-15, 26-24) Friday night to remain undefeated on the season.
“It’s always exciting to beat Utah, so that makes it a little more sweet and enjoyable,” head coach Shawn Olmstead said. “I thought we played well, served tough, kept it on them, made digs in transition, and got good swings out of it too. Our passing and serving was just on par tonight.”
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Photos from the match
With the victory, the Cougars improved to 7-0, their best start since the 2005 season. Utah falls to 6-3 on the season. The win also gives BYU the Deseret Duel trophy for women’s volleyball and ties the overall Deseret Duel series between Utah at 3-3.
Jennifer Hamson and Alexa Gray led the charge for the Cougars contributing 16 kills and 13 kills, respectively. Hamson hit .625 to lead the Cougars. Jessica Jardine also made it into double figures with 11 kills and seven digs. Setter Heather Hannemann had 39 assists and nine digs, while Ciara Parker led on the back row with 17 digs. Defensive specialist Tia Withers had 12 digs.
Utah held close at the beginning of the first set, but the Cougars never trailed. Midway through the set, Gray contributed a consecutive kill and block giving BYU a 17-11 lead and forcing a Utah timeout. BYU never looked back and sealed the first set with a Hamson kill, 25-14.
In the second set, BYU and Utah traded points back and forth early on. Trying to keep within reach, Utah outside hitter Morgan Odale spiked the ball to bring Utah within one of the Cougars at 7-6. With her fourth kill of the set, Hamson put BYU up 14-10 and the Cougars never gave up the lead for the remainder of the set. Another kill from Hamson ultimately put the set away at 25-15.
Utah pushed BYU during the final set, but ultimately could not prevail. Down 16-13 and with the home crowd of 3,550 on their feet, Utah middle blocker Erin Redd served the ball out of bounds, sparking a 7-1 BYU run. The Utes tied it up at 24 apiece late into the match, but BYU’s Jessica Jardine was too much to handle for the Utes, forcing an attack error to seal the set 26-24.
The Cougars resume play tomorrow at the Smith Fieldhouse when they take on Bowling Green at noon MDT and Portland State at 7 p.m. MDT in the BYU Nike Invitational.
BYU vs. Utah Box Score
Bowling Green vs. Portland State
The BYU Invitational opened with Bowling Green winning the opening game 3-1 (16-25, 25-19, 25-23, 25-17) over Portland State on Friday on Elaine Michaelis Court.
The Falcons (2-4) lost the first set but battled back to win the next three for the win over the Vikings (3-5). Bowling Green’s Danielle Tonyan led with 15 kills and Paige Penrod and Lindsey Butterfield added 14 kills apiece.
The first set was a tight one and no more than four points at the start of the first match separated the teams. Every time Portland State built momentum Bowling Green would answer with a timely block or kill to keep it close. The Vikings eventually extended their lead to 22-15, closing the set with a 25-16 victory.
Bowling Green found the groove to open up the second and third sets, jumping out to early leads in both sets. The Falcons took set 2 but in set 3 Portland State battled back to take a 14-13 advantage and make it interesting. Both teams traded leads all the way down the stretch, but Bowling Green came out on top 25-23 to take a 2-1 lead in the match.
The Falcons took the early lead in set 3 at 11-6. Bowling Green controlled the set with a 5-0 run and had a 21-10 lead. The Vikings stayed with three straight points to cut the lead to 24-17, but the Falcons finished them off to win the set 25-17 and the match 3-1.