Ahearn Field House
1700 College Heights Rd Manhattan KS 66506
MANHATTAN, Kan. (Sept. 3, 2011)—Tournament MVP Jennifer Hamson led the BYU women’s volleyball team to a first-place finish in the Varney’s Invitational with a 3-0 (25-23, 25-19, 25-23) victory against host Kansas State Saturday afternoon.
With the victory, the Cougars’ record increases to 5-2, including a four-match winning streak.
“I thought this was a wonderful step for us as a team,” BYU head coach Shawn Olmstead said. “We were able to travel to Kansas State and play three solid matches while still in the beginning of the season. The girls were up at times and down at times, but they responded well to playing against a home team. They played pretty consistently.”
Opposite hitter Hamson recorded 17 kills, hitting .438 with eight digs and four blocks. Junior middle blocker Nicole Warner led the Cougars in blocks with six to tie her season high and contributed five kills. At setter, junior Heather Hannemann had 33 assists and libero Kendalyn Hartsock contributed 15 digs.
Hamson carried the Cougars in the first set with 10 kills at .643 hitting. Kansas State (4-3) surged past the Cougars to open the match, but BYU fought back to tie 6-6. A kill from Christie Carpenter took the lead for the Cougars 8-7. After a 6-2 BYU run, the Wildcats answered with a 4-0 run to tie the set 16-16.
Hamson put the Cougars in position to take the set with her 10th kill, but the Wildcats’ Kaitlynn Pelger kept the score dangerously close with a kill and a block. With the score at 24-23, freshman outside hitter Katie Vaughn took the set with a kill, assisted by Hannemann who had 14 assists on the set.
Cougars got off to a slow start in the second game, but came back for another 6-6 tie on a Wildcat error. Middle blocker Kathryn LeCheminant blocked an attack by Kansas State’s Alex Muff, pushing BYU to its first lead of the set. The teams switched off scoring as the set progressed, tying seven times with two lead changes.
BYU broke out of the deadlock on a Wildcat error, launching a 5-0 scoring streak. LeCheminant seized the 2-0 match lead with a kill, taking the set 25-19.
Coming out strong in the third, the Cougars quickly took the lead with Hamson responsible for four of the first nine points.
LeChem teamed up with freshman Katie Vaughn for back-to-back blocks for a 7-3 score before joining Hamson for another two straight blocks.
A service error killed the Cougars’ momentum, giving the Wildcats six consecutive points and the lead until back-to-back service aces from Hannemann got BYU back in the game with a 14-14 tie. Hamson stole the lead back for BYU on a kill followed by an ace from Warner.
The Wildcats didn’t give up, keeping the score close as the match wound down. A Cougar attack error tied the set 22-22, but kills from Hamson and Carpenter pushed the Cougars closer to victory. Warner sealed the match for the Cougars on a block with Vaughn, putting BYU in first place to close out the Varney’s Invitational.
“We try to make our offense and defense a little better with each opportunity to practice in a match setting,” Olmstead said. “This gave us a chance to see where we can improve. Now we’ll go out and do it.”
Hamson was named MVP of the tournament following the win. She and Warner were also included on the all-tournament team.
The Cougars take on BYU-Hawaii this Wednesday at 7 p.m. MT in the Smith Fieldhouse before heading to Salt Lake City for the Utah Invitational, where they will face UC Riverside on Friday, and Eastern Michigan and Utah on Saturday.
Volleyball Team Ready for Week 2
PROVO, Utah—After recording its first victory of the season Saturday, the BYU women’s volleyball team gears up to take on four more teams starting with Weber State at home Tuesday. On Friday and Saturday the Cougars will participate in the Kansas State Invitational against Idaho, Georgia Southern and host Kansas State.
"We are always excited to play against in-state competition," head coach Shawn Olmstead said. "Tuesday and this coming weekend in Kansas will be another opportunity for us to see our team progress and make changes. This entire week is filled with good competition that will help us move our group forward. Going on the road will be a valuable experience for the kids on our team, both young and old."
The Cougars (1-2) begin the week with their fourth-straight home match against the Wildcats (0-3) at 7 p.m. in the Smith Fieldhouse. The match is the 60th face-off between in the teams, with BYU holding a 59-0 record. Both teams boast new head coaches, with former BYU men’s volleyball head coach Tom Peterson leading the Wildcats and former BYU men’s volleyball player Olmstead leading the Cougars. The match will be televised on BYUtv.
Over the weekend, BYU launched its season with a 3-0 loss to No. 8 Illinois, a 3-1 victory against UC Santa Barbara and a 3-0 loss to WCC foe Saint Mary’s. Despite the losses, opposite hitter Jennifer Hamson, setter Heather Hannemann and outside hitter Jessica Jardine recorded career highs in all three matches, including 20 kills by Hamson against Saint Mary’s.
The Wildcats opened their season with a 3-0 loss to in-state opponent Utah, a 3-0 loss to Northwestern and a 3-2 loss to Cal State Northridge. Briana Wilms leads the Wildcats with 39 kills and contributed nine digs and seven blocks. She’s joined by Michele Arave with 22 digs and Caitlin Penrod with 12 blocks, 16 digs and eight kills.
Friday, the Cougars take on Idaho in the first match of the Kansas State Invitational at 10 a.m. CT. Idaho shut down Butler 3-2 in its first match of the season, but couldn’t hold on against Eastern Michigan, losing 3-0. After falling behind one set to Notre Dame, Idaho snuck in a second-set victory but wasn’t able to shut down the Irish in the 3-1 defeat.
Next on the tournament schedule at 5 p.m. Friday, the Cougars face Georgia Southern, which has the best record of the tournament teams so far. The Eagles participated in the Spring Hill Suites Invitational last weekend, posting 3-0 wins against Jacksonville and Montana State and losing 3-2 to Stephen F. Austin and South Dakota State.
The Cougars close the tournament facing host Kansas State Saturday at 1 p.m. Kansas State went 1-2 in last weekend’s Georgia Tech Courtyard Classic, falling to Georgia Tech and Louisville and sweeping Tennessee Tech.
Links to live stats are available here.