The Cougars had plenty to celebrate Friday night as they scored a season-opening sweep of Utah State.
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PROVO -- First-year BYU head coach Shay Goulding celebrated her first career Division I victory Friday night as the BYU women’s volleyball team swept Utah State (25-16, 25-23, 25-13) in the 2008 season opener for both teams. Action Friday night from the BYU Molten Classic also saw Missouri defeat Tulane in four games.
“I’m very pleased with our result tonight,” said Goulding. “Utah State did a great job, but we showed a lot of maturity and composure. We have a lot of work to do, but overall, it was a great way to start our season.”
The first match of the year saw several new Cougars in action as true freshman Malia Marquardt and junior transfers Kayla Walker (Pepperdine) and Morgan Lloyd (Salt Lake Community College) made their first BYU starts. All three made the most of the opportunity as Marquardt tied for team-high honors with 10 kills on .421 hitting while Walker added nine putaways on .353 hitting and Lloyd tallied 14 digs. Senior Bryn Porter also posted 10 kills and tied her career high with five blocks while junior Ashton Hansen Hosford paced the Cougars with seven rejections. Senior Rachel Dyer notched seven kills on .545 hitting.
“All of our newcomers did a great job tonight,” said Goulding. “They’ve integrated well with our returning players. They were a huge factor.”
Set one was an evenly matched battle through the first half as the two teams scrambled for even point. With the Cougars trailing by one point at 12-11, Marquardt announced her presence on the BYU volleyball scene with two kills and a block to spark a 4-0 Cougar run. The Aggies scored two of the next three points to get to within two at 16-14, but from there it was all BYU as a 9-2 run sealed the 25-16 win, the Cougars’ first set victory of the season. BYU hit an impressive .462 in the set while tallying 4.5 blocks.
After an early 7-4 BYU lead in set two, Utah State stormed back with 5-1 run to take a 9-8 advantage. The momentum continued to swing wildly as a 12-10 Cougar lead quickly became a 15-13 Aggie advantage with scoring spurts working on both sides of the net. Strong defensive play allowed USU to stay in front to a score of 21-17, but just when it looked like the Aggies would even the match, the home crowd got the Cougars going. BYU scored eight of the last 10 points to take the 25-23 win, getting help from all over the court in a balanced team effort.
Sensing a season-opening victory just around the corner, BYU came out strong in set three, scoring the first six points of the set while jumping out to a 10-2 lead with dominating offensive play. Trailing 14-4, the Aggies fought back with three straight points, but the BYU lead proved insurmountable. The Cougars cruised to a 25-13 victory while holding the Aggies to just -.167 hitting in the set.
The Cougars will continue play in the Molten Classic on Saturday, hosting Tulane at 12 p.m. and Missouri at 7:30 p.m. Utah State will play Missouri at 10 a.m. and Tulane at 5:30 p.m. All four matches can be followed via live stats on the BYU women’s volleyball schedule page.
Missouri Defeats Tulane in Four Sets
The women’s volleyball season at BYU began on Friday night with the first match of the Molten Classic in the Smith Fieldhouse, where, unusually, no one was cheering for the Cougars.
The Missouri Tigers took the first win of the tournament over the Tulane Green Wave in a four-game match. The key contributor for Missouri was sophomore Weiwen Wang with 15 kills, seven blocks and 22.5 points. Also notable was Missouri’s Caitlyn Vann with 17 digs. Senior Sara Radosevic of Tulane marked 16 kills, seven digs and 17 points.
The first set proved to be a warm-up for both teams, with each offense struggling. The Tigers chalked up eight kills as a team with 12 digs and a hitting percentage of .079. The Green Wave brought relatively higher numbers with 16 team kills, 18 digs and a hitting percentage of .154. Although Missouri’s defense produced five team blocks, it was not enough to overtake Tulane, who pulled through with a win, 25-23.
Set two brought a closer game and longer rallies. After a back-and-forth battle for the first seven points, the momentum of set one was with the Green Wave as they had a four-point streak, bringing the score to 10-7. The Tigers fought back, and, with the help of Wang and her seven kills, had their own streak to achieve a nine-point lead for a score of 23-14. In spite of Tulane’s best efforts, it could not catch Missouri’s lead as the Tigers eventually took the win, 25-20.
With each team experiencing a win, set three continued to show the even matchup between the two schools. Missouri’s defense was again on top of things with seven team blocks, two individually going to Wang, proving her to be a key contributor for the Tigers. Even so, Tulane maintained a lead for a majority of the set. The Tigers didn’t see a lead until the last two points for an unexpected win of 26-24.
Missouri sealed the match win in the final set where, after an initial battle for the lead, the Tigers were ahead the whole set. Tulane fought in the beginning but lost momentum as Missouri took six straight points for a score of 14-10. The Tigers took the win quickly after that, with a final score of 25-14.