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Balanced block leads Cougars to season opener victory at West Virginia
MORGANTOWN, W.V. – Behind a balanced blocking effort, No. 9 BYU women’s volleyball won its season opener 3-0 (29-27, 25-20, 25-20) Friday night against West Virginia in the Blue and Gold Player’s Challenge.
“The first match of the season is always a fun time,” BYU head coach Shawn Olmstead said. “We played well through the ups and downs you would expect in an opening match. This is just a start and we have a lot of room to improve.”
As a team, BYU had 18 total blocks. Jennifer Hamson led the Cougars with 10 kills while hitting at a .333 clip, nine digs and five blocks. Alexa Gray also contributed a team-high 10 kills. Sophomores Amy Boswell and Whitney Young led the team in blocks with nine and six, respectively. They both additionally contributed six kills. Junior Ciara Parker had a team-high 12 digs while junior Camry Godfrey added 29 assists.
BYU (1-0) got its first point from a Hamson kill. The Cougars quickly jumped out to a 5-2 lead after a trio of blocks. West Virginia (0-1) battled back following a timeout to tie things up at 8 apiece. After the Mountaineers took a 13-10 advantage, BYU took a turn battling back to even the score at 14-14. The two teams traded points from there until the Cougars went ahead 19-17 on a Boswell kill down the middle. West Virginia then rallied to tie the score at points 24 through 27 before a block from Young and Hamson gave BYU a 29-27 set one victory.
Multiple Mountaineer attack errors helped the Cougars to an early 8-3 lead to begin the second set. The momentum began to shift back towards West Virginia as a trio of consecutive points tied the score at 11-11. The Mountaineers took their first lead at 16-15 from an ace, prompting an Olmstead timeout. BYU quickly responded with a 6-0 run to retake the lead at 21-16. Two straight kills from Gray ended the second set as BYU won 25-20.
The Cougars went up 9-2 to begin the third set. West Virginia then followed with a 5-1 run to cut the BYU advantage to three at 10-7. Another kill from Gray extended BYU’s lead to 15-10. A pair of Hamson kills then helped bring BYU’s lead to a set-high eight at 20-12. The Mountaineers followed by mounting a comeback, going on a 6-1 streak to cut the Cougars’ lead to three at 21-18. The rally proved to be too little too late as BYU took the set and match 25-20 from a Hamson kill.
The Cougars continue competition in the Gold & Blue Player’s Challenge tomorrow when they face off against IUPUI and Toledo. Links to live stats for tomorrow’s matches can be found on the BYU women’s volleyball schedule page.
Cougars travel to West Virginia for season opener
PROVO, Utah – No. 9 BYU women’s volleyball begins the 2014 season by heading to West Virginia to take part in the Gold & Blue Player’s Challenge on Friday and Saturday.
Competing with the Cougars in the invitational is host West Virginia, IUPUI and Toledo.
BYU begins play on Friday at 7 p.m. EDT against tournament host West Virginia. This is the first ever match between the two schools.
In 2013, the Mountaineers went 20-13 overall and 5-11 in Big 12 conference play – good for a sixth-place finish.
West Virginia returns five starters and its libero to this year’s squad.
The Cougars will next face off against IUPUI, a 2013 NCAA tournament competitor, Saturday morning at 11:30 a.m.
The Jaguars finished the 2013 season with a 19-14 overall record, including going 11-3 in Summit League play. Following the conference tournament championship, the team earned its first ever berth to the NCAA tournament.
IUPUI returns three starters and its libero for 2014.
The two teams have never before met.
BYU concludes the Gold & Blue Player’s Challenge with a Saturday afternoon match against Toledo at 4:30 p.m.
The Rockets ended their 2013 campaign going 19-12 overall and 12-4 in MAC conference play. Toledo finished tied for first in West Division play and second overall.
Toledo returns just one starter for the 2014 season.
BYU leads the series with the Rockets 1-0 after picking up a 3-1 victory in 1999.
Links to live stats for all matches and a video stream for Friday’s West Virginia match can be found on the BYU women’s volleyball schedule page.