Cougars Top Lions

(Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)

LOS ANGELES—The BYU women’s volleyball team met tough competition in its first West Coast Conference road match, recording its first five-set match of the season in the 3-2 (25-23, 19-25, 25-22, 25-27, 15-9) victory against Loyola Marymount, Thursday.

“LMU is a good team and very well-coached,” BYU head coach Shawn Olmstead said. “They put pressure on us all night, but we were able to respond in the end. When it was important, we made good plays to get in the lead in the fifth set and take the match.”

It was a night of career and season highs for BYU (13-3, 2-0), with opposite hitter Jennifer Hamson reaching 21 kills on 54 attempts. She also contributed 10 digs for her sixth double-double this season. Kathryn LeCheminant led the Cougars with career highs of 10 total blocks and four solo blocks while tying her season high of six block assists. Senior outside hitter Casey Thurston had career highs of 13 kills, four digs and tied a career high of five blocks. Heather Hannemann’s 52 assists was also a career high. Kendalyn Hartsock had 23 digs.

BYU took its first lead at 3-2 on a kill from Hamson in the first set. The Lions (8-7, 2-1) temporarily took back the lead with an Olivia Bailey kill before the Cougars broke away on a 5-0 run aided by Thurston and Nicole Warner. LeCheminant scored back-to-back points on a block and a kill to push the score to 17-15.

LMU tied the set at 18-18 and snuck ahead on a kill for a 21-20 lead before an LMU service error tied the score and the Cougars stole back the lead. A Lions attack error put away the first set for the Cougars 25-23.

BYU took the lead to start the second set, but the Lions stayed close behind. Thurston kept the Cougars from falling behind despite 11 ties. Litara Keil’s service ace gave LMU the lead, but a service error tied the set again. The Lions pushed forward from there on a 5-0 run to bring the score to 22-17. BYU couldn’t rally to fend off the Lions’ attack and LMU took the set 25-19 to tie the match 1-1.

Getting back in gear after falling behind to open the third set, the Cougars took a 5-4 lead on a Christie Carpenter kill. Carpenter’s next kill put BYU ahead 7-4 but Lion Jasmine Rankins tied the score 11-11 on a block and continued on to take a 12-11 lead. As the Cougars fought to stay in the set, LMU advanced on a 4-0 scoring streak. It was just enough to snap BYU out of its slump and the Cougars answered with six-straight points to steal back the lead 19-17. Caseye Thurston took set point for a 25-22 win.

BYU held off LMU for four straight points in the fourth set, then turned around and pumped out another 7-1 run as LMU scrambled to regroup. The Cougars wavered momentarily as match point drew near, letting the Lions within two when the score was at 19-17 and within one at 20-19. But Hamson wasn’t about to let the Lions take over without a fight. The opposite hitter threw down a kill to tie her career high of 20 kills. Warner tried to prevent a five-set match with a pair of kills, but the Lions came back for a 27-25 win to once again tie the match.

Career and season highs were set left and right in the fifth set. Hamson started off the Cougar scoring breaking her career-high for kills in a match. LeCheminant reached her new block record blocks and Thurston’s 12th kill took the Cougars to an 8-4 lead. LMU brought the score to 9-7 on a kill by Alyse Hensley. The Lions struggled for a late comeback, but couldn’t muster the strength to prevent a Warner kill from taking the set 15-9 and the match 3-2

The Cougars continue their California road trip with a visit to San Diego for a 1 p.m. PDT matchup against the Toreros on Saturday.

BYU vs. LMU Box Score