Jennifer Hamson led in kills and digs in Friday evening's win against UC Riverside. (Photo by Jaren Wilkey/BYU Photo)
SALT LAKE CITY — Rolling the six-match winning streak forward with a no-sweat sweep, the BYU women’s volleyball team took down UC Riverside 3-0 (25-20, 25-14, 25-16) in the opening match of the Utah Invitational Friday.
"I felt like we didn't come out with our A game right off the bat, but it's good to win a match like that when you don't feel like you're playing at your best," BYU head coach Shawn Olmstead said. "I'm glad we were able to get through that as a team and learn from it and get better. Wins are always positive things no matter what."
Opposite hitter Jennifer Hamson and outside hitter Christie Carpenter led the Cougars (7-2) to victory with eight kills each. Hamson also led in digs with 12, her third time reaching double-digit digs this season. Setter Heather Hanneman recorded 23 assists for BYU and middle blocker Nicole Warner contributed six blocks.
"I thought that Heather [Hannemann] did well staying in the match and trying to get the hitters the ball at the right time," Olmstead said. "And Jen [Hamson] really helped us from the service line in that third set to get us going."
The Cougars took an early lead to start the set, but a service ace from Highlander Katie Meyers brought the score to 4-4. The teams fought for the lead, tying five times. A Kathryn LeCheminant kill broke the pattern, putting the Cougars up 9-8 and a Highlander error increased that lead by two. BYU kept the two-point lead until back-to-back kills from UC Riverside (1-7) tied the set at 15-15. The teams picked up a back-and-forth rhythm once again until consecutive Cougar kills broke BYU out with a score of 20-18. Warner finished off the 25-20 set with a kill to put BYU ahead 1-0.
LeCheminant led the Cougars in the first set with three kills on .750 hitting. Hamson led in blocks with two and digs with three. Hartsock also had three digs.
A 6-1 Cougar scoring streak opened the second set. BYU didn’t let UC Riverside closer than three points after the run, dishing out 11 kills. Carpenter gave the Cougars a 10-point lead on a kill and an attack error by the Highlanders sealed the second game for BYU.
A block from Hannemann put the Cougars up 7-4, starting a 4-0 run to bring the score to 10-4. The Highlanders crept back on BYU errors for a 9-12 score before their own errors caught up to them and launched BYU ahead 16-9. Service aces from Warner and Carpenter and a kill by Hamson gave BYU its sixth-straight victory.
The Cougars compete against Eastern Michigan (7-1) at 10 a.m. on Saturday in the third match of the Utah Invitational and finish off the tournament facing Utah at 7 p.m. at the Utes’ Crimson Court.
BYU vs. UC Riverside Box