Jennifer Hamson had 18 kills and 13 digs for her fourth double-double of the season. (Photo by Jaren Wilkey/BYU Photo)
FULLERTON, Calif.—Five matches on the road caught up to the BYU women’s volleyball team which fell in a 3-1 (25-22, 25-22, 24-26, 25-23) heartbreaker to Cal State Fullerton Friday, snapping a nine-match winning streak. The Cougars next play in their sixth-straight road match Saturday at 1 p.m. PDT against Cal State Northridge.
“It’s a setback,” BYU head coach Shawn Olmstead said. “We just didn’t play our best. I didn’t think our effort was up to par. The scores of each set were close, but we lacked a little in the effort category. It’s hard to change something like that by tomorrow, but we need to because I think tomorrow’s match will be similar to tonight’s.”
The match was the first time BYU (10-3) has lost in four sets this season. Prior to the match against Fullerton (5-5), the Cougars were 3-0 when the match went to four sets.
Despite the loss, opposite hitter Jennifer Hamson had a good night with 18 kills and 13 digs for a double-double to lead the Cougars. Hamson also contributed six blocks, five block assists and one solo. Outside hitter Christie Carpenter also had a double-figure evening with 13 kills. Libero Kendalyn Hartsock led the Cougars with 17 digs while freshman defensive specialist Tia Withers broke a career record with 15 digs. Setter Heather Hannemann tied her career record of 48 digs, which she set against Georgia Southern during the Varney’s Invitational. Kathryn LeCheminant had a season-high eight kills and career-high four digs.
The team set a season-high 16 total blocks to the Titans’ three. There were 32 ties and 17 lead changes throughout the match.
As the match opened, the Cougars took the lead and maintained it until Titan Kayla Neto tied the first set 12-12 on a kill. BYU allowed the Titans an 8-1 scoring streak and struggled to get back on track the rest of the set. The Cougars tied the match four more times with the help of seniors Carpenter and Casey Thurston, but Fullerton ran off with the first set 25-22.
After playing catch up most of the first set, BYU got it together late in the second to end a 6-0 run by Fullerton. Down 10-8, Hamson helped the Cougars on their own eight-point run with two service aces. Carpenter and Kathryn LeCheminant tied the set 19-19, giving the Cougars a glimmer of hope before the Titans pulled away by three at the last moment to take the set 25-22 once more.
BYU gathered its strength for another drive in the third set, with Hamson and Carpenter helping the team to 10 ties and six lead changes. With the score tied at 24-24, Hamson turned up the heat and grabbed two more points for the 26-24 win.
The Cougars couldn’t keep their footing in the final set, even after coming back for an 11-11 tie following the Titans taking an early lead. The Cougars marched forward a few points, staying on top until a 19-19 tie broke their momentum. Unable to get back on its feet, BYU let the set slip through its fingers for a 25-23 defeat and 3-1 loss of the match.
Live stats for Saturday afternoon’s match are available HERE.
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