Volleyball Faces Gaels in Rematch

(Photo by Jonathan Hardy/BYU Photo)

PROVO, Utah—In its final road trip of the season, the BYU women’s volleyball team takes on Saint Mary’s Thursday at 7 p.m. PST in a 2011 series tiebreaker on the Gaels’ home court.

“This past week was a great team effort and we are thrilled with the results” BYU head coach Shawn Olmstead said. “Saint Mary’s is a great opponent and very well coached.  This will be an exciting opportunity to play them for the third time this season.  We are looking forward to Thursday.”

No. 3 in conference, the Cougars (20-7, 9-4) are 1-1 against Saint Mary’s (13-12, 5-6) this season after falling to the Gaels 3-0 in the BYU Nike Invitational and defeating them 3-0 in the first round of league play. Saint Mary’s is tied with Loyola Marymount for fourth place in conference.

BYU is fresh off back-to-back home wins against LMU and San Francisco. The match against the Lions proved a tough one after LMU pushed it to five sets. Despite downing the Lions in two straight sets, the Cougars allowed LMU to pick up sets 3 and 4 before BYU wrapped up the contest in the fifth. USF couldn’t keep up momentum in the fourth set against a ruthless BYU defense that forced six attack errors and totaled three blocks and 19 digs. The Dons fell 3-1 after winning the third during a Cougar lull.

Jennifer Hamson led the way with 34 digs on the week, helped out by Christie Carpenter with 27 and Kathryn LeCheminant with 20. LeCheminant tied her career-high of 10 kills in both matches and hit a team-high .531 on the week.

Nicole Warner totaled 16 blocks last week and LeCheminant recorded 11.

Setter Heather Hannemann packed in 103 assists during the two matches, including breaking her career record with 55 against USF. Hannemann and Hamson each reached two double-doubles last week, Hannemann in assists and digs and Hamson in kills and digs. Carpenter also reached a double-double against the Dons with 14 kills and 12 digs.

The Gaels defeated Portland and Gonzaga on the road last week, duking it out with the Pilots in a 3-2 decision Thursday and sweeping the Bulldogs Saturday. Saint Mary’s is 5-5 at home, but added a road win against second-place San Diego to its list of victories Oct. 26. San Diego is one of two league teams the Cougars weren’t able to defeat this season, proving the Gaels’ ability to compete with any team on their schedule.

Lauren Corp leads the Gaels with 3.04 kills per set. Against BYU, Corp totals 20 kills on the season. Jordan Shaw, who averages 3.31 kills, totaled 22 kills in the previous matchups. Gabby Jolly leads Saint Mary’s defense with 1.11 blocks per set and Sarah Reams averages 4.18 digs.

With 20 victories accomplished so far, the Cougars have already achieved their winningest season since 2007.

BYU has only one week left of the regular season after the California road trip. The Cougars welcome Gonzaga and Portland to Elaine Michaelis Court Nov. 17 at 7 p.m. and Nov. 19 at 1 p.m., respectively.

For live stats of the match, click HERE.

BYU vs. Saint Mary's Notes