LOS -- A potent BYU attack proved too much for Loyola Marymount Saturday as the Cougars defeated the host team of the Loyola Marymount Invitational in three games, 15-13, 15-12, and 15-11.
BYU out hit the Lions in all three games while recording a .421 hitting percentage for the match. After knocking down 22 kills and hitting .283 to pick up a close win in game one, BYU got hot in game two, hitting a sizzling .654 while not making an error in 26 attack attempts. The Cougars finished strong in the final game with a .429 percentage that overshadowed Loyola Marymount's .286 effort, its best of the night.
The Cougars received another strong effort from sophomore Nina Puikkonen despite the middle being the focus of the Lion defense. The 6-3 middle blocker made 16 kills with only one error in 24 attempts to hit .625.
"Loyola was following our middles all match, leaving our outside hitters with one-on-one match-ups," BYU coach Elaine Michaelis explained. "Anna-Lena (Smith) served a smart match to take advantage of their block."
Mari Carpenter and Caroline Bower benefited from the one-on-one match-ups on the outside with 17 and 13 kills, respectively. Bower's precision down-the-line shots and Carpenter's powerful cross-court bombs helped the two seniors to impressive .444 and .696 hitting percentages for the match. Carpenter joined Smith and Puikkonen on the Loyola Marymount Invitational All-Tournament Team.
"We had a good game plan," Michaelis said. "We served well and took them out of their game so they couldn't set the middle."
The Lions' 6-6 outside hitter Sarah McFarland averaged a whopping 20 swings per game and led the Lions with 32 kills in 60 attempts. BYU's Melissa Layton led the Cougars with 10 digs while middle blocker Jackie Bundy had a match-high seven blocks.
Loyola Marymount, who was coming off a win Friday night over No. 14 Ohio State, fell to 4-2 with the loss. The Cougars, ranked No. 9 by Volleyball Magazine and No. 12 in the USA Today/AVCA coaches poll, improved to 4-1 on the year. BYU will play its first home matches of the season next week when it faces Utah State and No. 11 Pepperdine in the Smith Fieldhouse.
Loyola Marymount Invitational All-Tournament Team
Anna-Lena Smith, Brigham Young
Nina Puikkonen, Brigham Young
Mari Carpenter, Brigham Young
Jen Flynn, Ohio State
Jeannette Hecker, Loyola Marymount
Sarah McFarland, Loyola Marymount - MVP