Cougars lose a heartbreaker in five sets

(Photo by Bella Torgenson/BYU Photo)

BOWLING GREEN, Ohio – The BYU women’s volleyball team lost in its second match of the day 3-2 (25-20, 25-22, 22-25, 21-25, 12-15) in a heartbreaker against tournament host Bowling Green State at the Hampton Inn Invitational.

“We let this one slip away tonight,” BYU head coach Shawn Olmstead said. “We had leads that we didn’t control. Hats off to Bowling Green for their comeback.”

Sophomore Alexa Gray once again led the Cougars on offense with 18 kills. On defense, freshman Amy Boswell and senior Kathryn LeCheminant led the way for the Cougars with six blocks each. Sophomore Camry Godfrey tallied 45 assists to go along with Tambre Haddock’s 17 digs and 12 kills.

The Cougars got the first point of the match from a Bowling Green attack error, and several more Falcon errors kept the Cougars ahead 8-5. Bowling Green kept the contest close as neither team managed to maintain a dominant lead in the set. It wasn’t until three kills from Falcon Lindsey Butterfield that Bowling Green was propelled to an 18-15 lead. BYU quickly fought back, taking a 21-19 lead and forcing a Falcon timeout. The Cougars were too much to handle for the Falcons as BYU took the set 25-20.

Both teams were plagued with attack errors to begin the second set, but three straight Falcon kills put Bowling Green ahead 6-3. BYU had to play catch-up during the rest of the set, coming within two points of the Falcons at 14-12. It wasn’t until a Hannah Robison service ace that the Cougars were able to pull ahead 23-22, and a Gray kill completed the Cougar win 25-22.

The third set began with both teams exchanging points until the Falcons scored four-consecutive points to take a 7-4 lead. BYU struggled offensively early on in the set, committing multiple attack errors that added up to Falcon points. The Cougars fell behind by as many as five points before coming back and taking a 16-15 lead from a Boswell kill. Bowling Green put together its own rally at the end of the set to take the lead and win 25-22.

BYU started the fourth set on a strong note with a kill from Boswell, and a pair of Falcon attack errors quickly put the Cougars ahead 7-3 shortly after that. BYU then suffered the same attack error misfortune that Bowling Green did, putting the Falcons ahead and with all the momentum 15-10. The Cougars were unable to stop that momentum as the Falcons took the fourth set 25-21.

Bowling Green quickly pulled ahead in the fifth and final set, taking an 8-2 lead on the Cougars. A BYU timeout proved ineffective as the Falcons pulled away, winning the set and match 15-12.

Gray was included in the all-tournament team selection after the match against Bowling Green.

The Cougars travel back to Utah to play at in-state opponent Utah Valley on Tuesday at 7 p.m. MDT before heading to Oregon on Friday and Saturday for the Portland State Tournament. The UVU match will be streamed free of charge on the UVU TV webpage. Live stats for the tournament can be found on the Portland State women’s volleyball schedule page.

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