Setter Kiana Rogers tallied her second double-double of the season with 51 assists and 18 digs. (Photo by Jaren Wilkey/BYU Photo)
CHAMPAGNE -- In BYU’s last game of the Illini Classic, the women’s volleyball team (1-2) earned its first win of the season, defeating South Carolina (0-3) in five (21-25, 20-25, 25-23, 25-22, 15-12).
“We dug a hole in the beginning, but played very well in the last three sets to come out with a win,” BYU head coach Shay Goulding said. “After game two I said, ‘How many of you have won a game in three? That’s what you need to do.’ Their slate was clean and after the break they came out a completely different team.”
Five Cougars tallied double-digit kills and three earned double-doubles in the five-set match. Senior middle blocker Christina Measom led her team with 15 kills, Christie Carpenter added 12, while Nicole Warner and Stephanie Snow chalked up 11 kills and true freshman Taeja Afalava had 10.
Setter Kiana Rogers distributed the ball well and tallied her second double-double of the season with 51 assists and 18 digs. Afalava had her first double-double of the season, leading the Cougars on the back row with 19 digs.
Libero Brooke Soon earned 17 digs and Snow added 13 digs to earn her first double-double of the season. Rogers added three service aces to contribute to the win.
“Our ball control is what we’ve struggled with this weekend,” said Goulding. “Our bench is deep, it’s just a matter of getting our ball to our setter and then getting it to our many options.”
The Gamecocks got out to a 9-1 lead to start the first set, the Cougars trying to catch up the remainder of the set. A 6-0 run ending at 13-15 wasn’t enough to gain the lead and BYU lost set one 25-21.
Set two proved to be almost equal to set one, SC with a 8-1 lead to start the game, the Cougars trailing the remainder of the game (25-20).
Playing with more poise, the squad jumped out to a 4-1 lead and battled the Gamecocks back and forth until the Cougars trailed 18-13. With stellar play from Measom, Afalava and Warner, BYU gained the lead at 23-all while Carpenter put away the last two points to win set three and keep the Cougars in it 25-23.
From behind once again, the Cougars finally caught the Gamecocks with a kill by Afalava, tied at 16. Two attack errors by SC left the Cougars with the lead for the rest of the set. All hitters on deck, Warner, Snow, Measom and Carpenter finished off the set 25-22.
Back-and-forth play for the first four points occurred in the fifth set, the Cougars next jumping out to a 9-4 lead off a 5-0 run. The Cougars remained ahead, even through four attack errors. Warner threw down the last two points to give BYU its first set-match-win of the season (15-11, 3-2).
Join the Cougars Friday at 7 p.m. MT in the Smith Fieldhouse as they go up against No. 2 Nebraska in the first home match of the season.