Cougars defeat alumni in three sets

(Photo by Jonathan Hardy/BYU Photo)

PROVO, Utah--To kick off the 2012 season, the BYU women’s volleyball team competed in the annual alumni match, defeating the alumni in three sets, 25-21, 25-11, 25-18.

During the first half of the opening set, the two teams exchanged points until sophomore outside hitter Jessica Jardine contributed five kills in a row to give the Cougars a 17-14 lead. Junior middle blocker Kathryn LeCheminant added another kill to extend the lead for the Cougars. The team closed out the set 25-21 with a kill from Jardine.

The Cougars jumped out to an early 6-0 lead in the second set with an ace from freshman outside hitter Alexa Gray, two kills from junior opposite hitter Jennifer Hamson and a kill from freshman outside hitter Kimberly Dahl. The alumni tried to recover with back-to-back blocks and an error from the Cougars to close the gap to three; however, the Cougars continued their dominance with five more unanswered points extending the lead to 11-3. The Cougars closed out the second set 25-11 with a kill from Dahl. 

At the beginning of the third set, the Cougars jumped out early again with a 3-0 lead only to allow the alumni to bounce back and take the next four points. The teams would exchange points through most of the third set until Hamson took control with three kills and an ace to put the Cougars up 20-15. The Cougars closed out the final set 25-18 with a kill from Hamson.

Hamson led the Cougars during regular play with 18 kills.

Christie Carpenter led the alumni team with eight kills.

The Cougars played two extra sets to continue their game-time preparation for upcoming matches. Early in the fourth set, the Cougars jumped out to an 11-3 lead with contributions from LeCheminant, freshman outside hitter Hannah Robison and freshman setter Samantha Staker. Senior middle blocker Nicole Warner helped the Cougars extend the lead to 19-6 with four blocks and two kills. Robison tallied a dig and a kill during the final point to help the Cougars close out the set 25-11.

In the fifth set, the alumni fought back early taking a 4-1 lead with a kill and a block from Carpenter and another block from opposite hitter Mandi Nuttall. At the mid point in the set, the alumni continued to lead 8-2. The Cougars bounced back with four errors from the alumni and a block from Robison closing the lead to one (9-8). The team gained their first lead of the set going up 13-12 with a block and an ace from Staker. The Cougars went on to win the final set 16-14.

The Cougars continue play this weekend in Houston with the Rice Invitational Friday and Saturday.