Comeback Cougars Block Aggies in Five

Sophomore middle blocker Lexi Brown recorded her first career double-double with a career-high 18 kills and a season-high 10 blocks. She also hit a match-high .459 and put up a career-high seven digs. (Photo by Jaren Wilkey/BYU Photo)

PROVO -- For the third time this season, the BYU women's volleyball team staged an improbable comeback. Tuesday night in the Smith Fieldhouse, the Utah State Aggies fell victim to a resilient Cougars team that came from 0-2 down to win it 3-2 (26-30, 29-31, 30-24, 30-28, 15-12).

The win improves the Cougars to 22-8, while the Aggies' regular season comes to an end at 18-11. BYU also ups it record in five-game matches to 4-1 on the season.

Previously this season, BYU had come from an 0-2 deficit to win against Air Force and San Diego State. The Cougars were led by several exceptional team and individual efforts.

Sophomore middle blocker Lexi Brown tallied her first career double-double with a career-high 18 kills and a season-high 10 blocks. Brown also hit a match-high .459, while falling just shy of her first triple-double with seven digs.

As a team BYU was buoyed by season-highs of 221 attack attempts and 99 digs. The No. 11 blocking team in the nation, the Cougars also out-blocked the Aggies 17-9.

"They gave it everything they had tonight," BYU coach Karen Lamb said. "It was one of the most heart-wrenching matches I've had to watch, and it feels great to win. We needed the win to help us improve our standing for a potential NCAA Tournament bid.

"We had 17 blocks and we needed every single one of them. We also dug the ball extremely well and Uila, in particular, had some really timely digs."

BYU was also led by a career performance from senior rightside hitter Carrie Bowers, who put up a career-best 22 digs to go with 15 kills, for her second-career double-double. Metcalf also tallied a double-double with 16 kills and a career-high tying 20 digs, to go with six blocks. Sophomore setter Lauren Richards also picked up a double-double, her team-leading 11th, by dishing out 62 assists to go with 15 digs.

Utah State had the slight edge on the scoreboard in the early going and took a quick 3-1 lead. BYU fought back to tie it on a Kim Wilson kill and an Erin Cartwright attack error. The game would stay close, but the Aggies stretched their advantage to three for the first time when they reeled off a 5-0 run to take a 16-10 lead. The Cougars fought to keep the game within striking distance, and they were led by junior outside hitter Lindsey Metcalf's team-leading five kills, seven digs and three blocks in the game. USU led by as many as seven points, but the Cougars clawed back into the game to within three, after back-to-back kills by Metcalf and Richards narrowed the USU lead to 29-26. BYU couldn't extend the game any further, however, as the Aggies put down a kill to end it.

The Aggies took another early lead in the second game, and held a grip in the game with a 5-1 lead. But in a game filled with lengthy rallies, it was the Cougars who would slowly inch back into the game and tie it with kills from Metcalf, Wilson and Brown. Metcalf would then give the Cougars their first lead since early in the first game, with a kill to make it 9-8. From there the two teams remained close, but BYU held slight leads. The Aggies kept feeding the ball to Cartwright and she picked up three consecutive kills for USU, to give it a brief 19-18 lead. BYU countered with a 4-0 run, capped by a Metcalf kill, to give the Cougars a 22-19 lead. The Cougars extended their lead after two of the longest rallies of the game were finished with kills by Richards and Wilson for a 24-20 lead. The Aggies kept chipping away, however, and led by Cartwright's three kills down the stretch, nipped the Cougars in the end.

"We were struggling on the outsides and so our middles had to start getting the job done," Lamb said.

The Cougar comeback started in the third game. BYU took command early with a pair of kills each from Brown and Metcalf. An Aggies attack error by Beth Hodge gave BYU a 5-0 lead the start the game. USU used several incremental surges to draw close to BYU and succeeded in tying the game at 8-8. The Aggies took their first lead of the game on a Mari Ruddick kill at 11-10. They would lead by as many as two points, but the Cougars regained the lead at 18-17, after kills by April Varner and Carrie Bowers. USU would never again see the lead, as BYU used a pivotal 6-0 run, with back-to-back aces from Laura Nielsen, to take control of the match with a 26-20 lead. The Cougars forced a fourth game when a Ruddick attack sailed out of bounds. Metcalf and Brown led the Cougars effort with five kills apiece.

"I said to the team in the break that we've been in this situation before," Brown said. "We know what it's like to be down like this, and we know what it's like to comeback. We knew we could do it."

As it had in the first two games, BYU fell behind early in the fourth game. USU took a quick 4-1 lead, but BYU was up to the task, immediately scoring three points of its own, two on blocked USU attack attempts, to tie the game at 4-4. The Cougars took their first lead at 7-6 on a Varner kill, and would hold the lead until late in the game. BYU held a comfortable lead and led by as many as five at 22-17, after a Bowers block on Zuzana Cernianska, forcing an Aggies timeout. USU scored the next three points, forcing a Cougars timeout. Out of the timeout, USU scored three of the next five points to recapture the lead at 24-23, forcing a second BYU timeout. The Aggies went up 25-23 on a BYU attack error. USU's last lead came at 28-27, but BYU finished the game on a 3-0 run behind kills by Varner and Metcalf.

In the final game, BYU fell behind 2-1, but after tying it on a Bowers kill and taking the lead on a Brown kill, the Cougars took control of the game for good. USU fought to stay in the match, but down the stretch BYU was too strong as Brown provided a pair of kills and Bowers added one of her own to win the match for the Cougars.

"I'm so proud of this team," Lamb said. "They came out in the third game and decided they were going to win this match."

The Aggies were led by Cartwright and Cernianska, who each put down 19 kills.

BYU will play its final regular-season match of the season against Eastern Michigan Friday at 7 p.m. It will be "Senior Night" for the Cougars, where they will recognize seniors Carrie Bowers, Uila Crabbe, Sahara Castillo and Laura Nielsen in a short ceremony before the match.

Volleyball Box Score

2003 BYU Women's Volleyball Stats

Utah State Aggies vs BYU Cougars (Nov 25, 2003 at PROVO, UTAH)

Utah State Aggies | ATTACK |SET| SERVE |SRV|DEF| BLOCK |GEN

## Name GP| K E TA PCT| A| SA SE| RE|DIG|BS BA BE|BHE

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

4 ARSENAULT, Dominique 5| 0 0 0 .000| 0| 1 1| 0| 18| 0 0 0| 0

7 ROTH, Ingrid........ 5| 13 8 35 .143| 0| 0 0| 0| 2| 0 5 0| 0

8 DELSIGNE, Andrea.... 5| 4 2 13 .154| 58| 1 2| 0| 10| 0 1 0| 0

16 CERNIANSKA,Zuzana... 5| 19 12 59 .119| 1| 0 2| 1| 11| 1 1 0| 0

18 CARTWRIGHT-DAVIS, Er 5| 19 7 54 .222| 1| 0 4| 0| 12| 1 1 2| 0

99 HODGE, Beth......... 5| 8 7 34 .029| 0| 0 0| 0| 10| 0 1 0| 0

9 RUDDICK, Mari....... 5| 11 7 40 .100| 2| 0 1| 0| 4| 1 3 0| 0

10 NEVES,Taubi......... 5| 0 0 0 .000| 3| 0 0| 0| 18| 0 0 0| 0

11 GRAYBILL, Erin...... 1| 0 0 2 .000| 0| 0 0| 0| 0| 0 0 0| 0

12 THOMAN, Kelsi....... 5| 0 0 0 .000| 1| 0 0| 3| 10| 0 0 0| 0

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Totals.............. 5| 74 43 237 .131| 66| 2 10| 4| 95| 3 12 2| 0

TEAM ATTACK PER GAME TOTAL TEAM BLOCKS: 9.0

Game K E TA Pct

1 14 9 45 .111 GAME SCORES 1 2 3 4 5 TEAM RECORDS

2 23 6 54 .315 Utah State Aggies... 30 31 24 28 12 18-11

3 14 12 50 .040 BYU Cougars......... 26 29 30 30 15 22-8

4 15 11 58 .069

5 8 5 30 .100

BYU Cougars | ATTACK |SET| SERVE |SRV|DEF| BLOCK |GEN

## Name GP| K E TA PCT| A| SA SE| RE|DIG|BS BA BE|BHE

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

5 RICHARDS, Lauren.... 5| 3 5 18 -.111| 62| 0 3| 0| 15| 0 5 2| 4

6 METCALF, Lindsey.... 5| 16 9 54 .130| 4| 0 2| 0| 20| 1 5 0| 0

7 WILSON, Kim......... 3| 5 5 20 .000| 0| 0 0| 0| 1| 0 1 0| 0

11 KEARL, Lindsey...... 2| 0 0 0 .000| 0| 0 2| 0| 3| 0 0 0| 0

14 HARTSOCK, Lindsy.... 1| 0 1 4 -.250| 0| 0 1| 0| 0| 0 1 0| 0

18 NIELSEN, Laura...... 5| 5 1 14 .286| 0| 2 2| 0| 2| 0 3 0| 0

3 VARNER, April....... 4| 9 4 30 .167| 0| 0 1| 0| 3| 0 1 0| 0

4 TOGO, Melanie....... 5| 0 0 0 .000| 0| 1 1| 1| 9| 0 0 0| 0

8 BOWERS, Carrie...... 5| 15 6 44 .205| 0| 1 1| 0| 22| 2 1 0| 0

9 BROWN, Lexi......... 5| 18 1 37 .459| 0| 0 2| 0| 7| 1 9 0| 0

12 CRABBE, Uila........ 5| 0 0 0 .000| 0| 0 0| 1| 17| 0 0 0| 0

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Totals.............. 5| 71 32 221 .176| 66| 4 15| 2| 99| 4 26 2| 4

TEAM ATTACK PER GAME TOTAL TEAM BLOCKS: 17.0

Game K E TA Pct

1 15 10 53 .094 Site: PROVO, UTAH (SMITH FIELD HOUSE)

2 17 5 54 .222 Date: Nov 25, 2003 Attend: 1156 Time: 2H44M

3 14 5 41 .220 Referees: TOM GIVEN, KIM NORMAN, KAREN MARSHALL

4 16 10 53 .113

5 9 2 20 .350

Tags: Results