(Photo by Kenny Crookston)
PROVO, Utah--In its first five-set match at home this season, the BYU women’s volleyball team defeated Loyola Marymount on Thursday, 3-2 (25-18, 25-23, 23-25, 14-25, 15-8) in the Smith Fieldhouse.
“We fought hard,” BYU middle blocker Nicole Warner
said. “I think that’s the biggest thing. We did not want to lose in the fieldhouse. We love playing here and we did not want to lose.”
With the victory, the Cougars (19-7, 8-4) once again secured the No. 3 position in the West Coast Conference.
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Although the first set started with three tied scores, BYU was able to pull away on an 8-2 run, which led to a score of 11-6. LMU (13-12, 5-7) followed the run with a timeout, but the Cougars continued with another 7-2 run, putting them ahead by nine points. The Lyons tried to fight back, eventually pulling the score within five, but the Cougars claimed the set, after three match-point attempts, with a score of 25-18.
The second set saw 12 tied scores. LMU was able to hold the lead from the beginning, never leading by more than three points, until a kill from outside hitter Christie Carpenter
gave the Cougars their first lead at 14-13. From there, neither team was able to gain more than a one-point lead. A kill from outside hitter Casey Thurston
sparked a 4-0 run for the Cougars, leading to a score of 23-19, but after calling a timeout LMU came back and tied the game 23-23. After calling a couple of timeouts of their own, a kill by Thurston and a block by Jennifer Hamson
and Kathryn LeCheminant
put the set away for BYU, 25-23.
A kill from Carpenter gave BYU the first point of the third set, but from there LMU went on an 11-3 run. With an impressive hitting percentage of .312, the Lions never gave up the lead, and although the Cougars were able to create three tied scores near the end, LMU finished the set, 25-23.
The Lions' momentum carried into the fourth set as they quickly jumped ahead 10-1. A kill by Carpenter and a block by Warner and Carpenter brought the Cougars within 7, at 8-15, but that was as close as they would come. LMU finished the fourth set 25-14.
“I told them you have to give everything you have,” BYU head coach Shawn Olmstead
said. “Luckily, they never gave up.”
The Cougar starters returned for the fifth set and were able to pull ahead 6-2 early on, as the Lions were plagued by attack errors. With a score of 8-4 for BYU, Hamson added two more points with a kill and a service ace, putting the Cougars ahead by six. Although the play from there was back and forth, BYU had the advantage and a kill from Warner gave the Cougars the set and match, with a score of 15-8.
“In the fifth we came out with so much energy and we just knew we were going to win,” Warner said. “I can only give credit to my teammates because they worked so hard. They were fighters.”
Hamson posted her 10th double-double of the season, with 14 kills and 10 digs. Two other Cougars finished with double-digit kills, including Carpenter, with 13, and LeCheminant, who broke her season record and tied her career high of 10 while breaking her career-high hitting percentage with .643. Heather Hannemann
also had her sixth double-double of the season, recording 48 assists and 17 digs, tying her career high for digs.
Warner led the Cougars' defense with nine blocks to tie her season high and libero Kendalyn Hartsock
had 13 digs.
The Lions were led by Alyse Hensley and Jasmine Rankins, who had 15 and 12 kills respectively. Betsi Metter also recorded 23 digs for LMU, and Litara Keil posted nine block assists.
BYU looks to extend its three-match win streak against San Francisco on Saturday at the Smith Fieldhouse. The game will begin at 7 p.m. MST and will be broadcast by BYUtv.