Cougars Fly Through Tourney with Win Against Eagles

SALT LAKE CITY (Sept. 10, 2011)—The BYU women’s volleyball team cranked up the energy Saturday to shatter Eastern Michigan’s win streak with a 3-1 (25-19, 25-23, 16-25, 25-8) Cougar victory in the third match of the Utah Invitational.

The win increased BYU’s win streak to seven and broke Easter Michigan’s eight-match streak. Eastern Michigan (8-2) defeated host Utah 3-2 Friday night following a BYU (8-2) victory against UC Riverside.

“We had some heart and guts at the end,” BYU head coach Shawn Olmstead said. “Technically and tactically we made some mistakes. A few players struggled through the first couple games. But we just had determination. It was a gutsy win. After losing the third set, it was good to be able to come back and win.”

Senior outside hitter Christie Carpenter led the Cougars with 17 kills and 12 digs for a double-double. Opposite hitter Jennifer Hamson followed up with 13 kills and Kendalyn Hartsock totaled 21 digs, a season high. Setter Heather Hannemann recorded her third double-double of the season with 32 assists and 13 digs.

“Carpenter did very well,” Olmstead said. “She had some big swings and made crucial plays when we needed it.”

The Eagles forced a 5-2 run as play began, but the undeterred Cougars responded with three kills to get back in the game. A kill by Katie Vaughn tied the set 6-6.

A Carpenter kill took the Cougars’ first lead of the set 8-7. BYU kept the flustered Eagles off their game with a 5-1 streak. Hamson took the three-point lead on a kill and increased it to five with Nicole Warner on a block for a score of 15-10.

A narrow save put Kathryn LeCheminant in line for a block with Vaughn to push BYU to a 21-15 lead. Keeping up the momentum, the Cougars wrapped up the first set 25-19.

BYU came out on fire to open the second set, punching out four quick points before the Eagles could react. Eastern Michigan kills momentarily broke the Cougars’ stride, but they managed to stay on top despite an 8-8 tie. Warner helped the Cougars maintain a two-point lead on a kill and a block before errors tied the set at 14-14. The score tied two more times before Eastern Michigan took its first lead of the set 17-16 on a block by Megan Crawshaw and Ashley Mason.

A determined Hamson tied the score at 17-17 with a kill and Eastern Michigan errors returned the two-point lead to the Cougars. A block from Eagles Crawshaw and Erin Short tied the set once more and Eastern Michigan took a 21-19 lead on a kill from Rachel Iaquaniello.

Christie Carpenter turned up the heat with back-to-back kills to tie the set 21-21. An attack error by Easter Michigan gave BYU the final lead. Hamson settled the second set with a block and a kill for the 25-23 win. Hamson recorded five kills and three blocks in the set.

Eastern Michigan took control of the third set with an 8-2 streak to start. Senior outside hitter Casey Thurston renewed BYU’s energy with two kills to cut the lead to 11-8, but he Eagles broke away on an 8-1 run that turned into a 20-10 lead on Cougar errors. A valiant comeback effort cut the Eagles’ lead to 20-16, but BYU couldn’t hold on and dropped the third set to Eastern Michigan 25-16. Thurston led the Cougars’ attack with four kills at .300 hitting.

Carpenter launched the fourth set with a kill and Hamson followed with a block that brought back the Cougar intensity from the first two sets. The Cougars proved too much for the Eagles as BYU broke away from a 3-3 tie on a 15-2 run. Eastern Michigan didn’t even make it into double-figures as the Cougars finished out the match 25-8 on a Carpenter kill.

The Cougars take on rival Utah tonight at 7 p.m. at the Crimson Court, seeking to take home the Utah Invitational crown.

BYU vs. Eastern Michigan Box