No. 21 Cougars host BYU Nike Invitational

(Photo by Mark A Philbrick/BYU Photo)

PROVO, Utah—Following a duo of wins against top-25 teams, the No. 21 BYU women’s volleyball team welcomes Utah, Bowling Green and Portland State to Elaine Michaelis Court for the BYU Nike Invitational Friday and Saturday.

The Cougars (6-0) play Utah (6-2) at 7 p.m. MDT Friday in the team’s home opener. The teams will compete for the Deseret First Duel trophy and three points toward the overall Deseret First Duel count. Utah leads the Duel 3-0 after a win in women’s soccer.

BYU then faces Bowling Green Saturday at noon and Portland State at 7 p.m.

With 98 total kills, junior opposite hitter Jennifer Hamson averages 4.45 kills per set. Hamson was named MVP for both the Rice Invitational and the Shocker Volleyball Classic. Setter Heather Hannemann has had 260 assists in the last six matches and freshman libero Ciara Parker has tallied 112 digs. Both have been named to an all-tournament team since the start of the season.

At the net are middle blockers Nicole Warner and Kathryn LeCheminant, each with four solo blocks on the season. Warner averages 1.55 blocks per set and LeCheminant averages 1.23.

Utah

Utah won the Aggie Invitational during the first week of the season, defeating in-state foes Utah State, Utah Valley, Southern Utah and Weber State. The Utes lost to Santa Clara and North Carolina Friday and Saturday, respectively, only defeating UC Davis in their weekend tournament.

Chelsey Schofield leads Utah with 3.82 kills per set, aided by McKenzie Odale’s 10.39 assists per set. Middle blocker Bailey Bateman could cause trouble at the net with an average 1.59 blocks.

BYU leads the series against Utah 65-29-0 after beating the Utes in the teams’ meeting last season on Crimson Court.

Bowling Green

Bowling Green is 1-4 on the season after losing to Georgia Tech and Cleveland State over the weekend. The Falcons pulled off a four-set win Saturday at Indiana.

Leading the team is Danielle Tonyan with 3.56 kills per set and Paige Penrod with 3.33. Laura Avila averages 8.50 assists per set, while Ashley Dunn has 3.89 digs per set. Kaitlyn Skinner leads in blocks with 1.22 per set.

Saturday’s match is BYU’s first ever against Bowling Green.

Portland State

The Vikings are 3-3 on the season after the Bankers Classic over the weekend. Portland State swept both Northern Illinois and Nevada Saturday after losing to Pacific Friday night. The Vikings finished second in the tournament.

Portland State meets UC Santa Barbara at home Tuesday night before heading to Provo for the weekend.

Jaklyn Wheeler leads the Viking offense with 4.14 kills per set. She’s aided by Garyn Schlatter with 11.36 assists per set and Kasimira Clark with 5.0 digs per set.

BYU hasn’t played against Portland State since 1984, when Portland State defeated the Cougars 2-1 in the BYU Preview Invitational. BYU leads the series 4-3-0.

How to watch

Fans can watch the Utah vs. BYU match on BYUtv and byutvsports.com. Live stats for all matches are available on the BYU women’s volleyball schedule page.

Tickets are available through the Marriot Center Ticket Office, which can be reached by calling 800-322-BYU1(2981) or 801-422-2981 (local), or at the Smith Fieldhouse Ticket Office up to one hour before the first match. For more information on tickets, visit the ticket page.

BYU Nike Invitational Notes