Charles Koch Arena
1845 Fairmount St. Wichita KS 67260
WICHITA, Kan.—Pulling off its biggest upset since 2007, the BYU women’s volleyball team handed No. 14 Tennessee its second loss of the season in a 3-1 (17-25, 25-20, 25-21, 25-17) defeat of the Volunteers Saturday night.
The win gives BYU the Shocker Volleyball Classic crown and increases the Cougars’ unbeaten record to 6-0. Tennessee falls to 3-2 on the season.
"We’re excited to come out here and win the Shocker Classic,” head coach Shawn Olmstead said. “I thought we kept a lot of pressure on Tennessee defensively, putting ball back on them so they had to make some plays. We got them a little frazzled by being able to do that, blocking and digging them. I’m super happy for the girls. They worked hard this season. But the season is still very young. We feel we learned a lot this weekend, but we still have things to learn.”
Jessica Jardine led the charge with 13 kills and 11 digs, her second double-double of the season. Freshman Alexa Gray had 12 kills and five blocks. Nicole Warner led the team in blocks with eight, including two solo blocks.
BYU took an early lead in the first set, going ahead 8-4. But the Volunteers steadily made their way back. Successful blocking set Tennessee on a 10-1 run that put the team ahead 21-13. Kills by Jennifer Hamson and Hannemann helped the Cougars cut down the deficit, but it wasn’t enough to prevent a 25-17 Tennessee victory in the end.
Despite the early loss, the Cougars pressed forward into the second set, where they again reached a four-point lead with some good blocks. A bad set by Volunteer Kelsey Robinson gave BYU its biggest lead yet at 8-3. Tennessee chipped away at that lead with the help of Robinson’s kills, until a block by Robinson and fellow Volunteer Mercedes Vaughn tied up the match at 12-12.
The teams fought for position, with BYU holding a slight edge as they both inched toward the coveted 25 points. Tennessee faltered momentarily, giving the Cougars three points off errors and pushing the lead to 23-19. Gray pounced on the Volunteers’ missteps, smacking down two kills to finish off the set 25-20.
BYU stayed within two points for the first part of the third set, but Robinson once again proved difficult to handle as she pushed Tennessee forward to a 10-6 lead on a kill. Jardine and Hamson kills cut the lead down to 12-10. Gray stepped up again, tying up the set 15-15 with two kills. Gray exchanged kills with Volunteer Tiffany Baker until Baker was blocked by Warner, giving the lead back to BYU at 17-16. That started a 6-1 run for the Cougars, putting another set victory in reach with a score of 23-17. BYU took the set on a Tennessee service error to take the overall lead 2-1.
BYU didn’t stop for breath, jumping to a 5-1 lead in the fourth. Kathryn LeCheminant extended the lead to 9-3 with a kill and a block. A Baker kill helped Tennessee decrease the lead to 9-6, but BYU held onto the three-point gap until LeCheminant extended it to 18-13 on back-to-back blocks with the help of Jardine and Hamson. The blocks were part of a 7-1 Cougar run that got the lead to 21-14. Gray took the Cougars to match-point position and a Tennessee service error gave the set and the match to BYU.
Following the match, Hamson, Parker and Warner were named to the all-tournament team and Hamson was named MVP, her second such honor.
The Cougars return to Provo for the home opener against Utah Friday at 7 p.m. MDT. The match will be BYU’s first of the BYU Invitational, where BYU will also face Portland State and Bowling Green Saturday.
Cougars face two top-25 teams in Shocker Classic
PROVO, Utah—Following a 3-0 start to the 2012 season, the BYU women’s volleyball team hits the road for the Shocker Volleyball Classic in Wichita, Kan., Friday and Saturday.
The Cougars face tough competition in their second tournament of the season, facing Wichita State Friday at 7 p.m. CDT before facing No. 24 Colorado State at noon CDT and No. 14 Tennessee at 7 p.m. CDT.
Wichita State is 2-1 on the season after the Northern Illinois Invitational last weekend. Emily Adney pulled off 37 kills for the Shockers on .308 hitting during the tournament to lead Wichita State.
Both CSU and Tennessee moved up one ranking in Monday’s AVCA Coaches’ Poll from the preseason rankings.
Former Mountain West foe CSU went 3-0 over the weekend, led by Dana Cranston and Megan Plourde who combined for 57 kills in the three matches. In the Rams Volleyball Rocky Mountain Invitational, CSU had a similar opening tournament to the Cougars’. The Rams didn’t lose a single set, sweeping Denver, Virginia and Rhode Island.
BYU caps off the tournament facing the Volunteers, who have a 2-1 record after the Comcast Lady Vol Classic. Kelsey Robinson was named SEC Offensive Player of the Week after her 55 kills helped Tennessee to a second-place finish in the tournament. The Volunteers recorded wins over Cincinnati and No. 10 Iowa State. The team lost only to No. 12 Florida State.
Video streaming is available for the tournament with a 30-day subscription, which can be purchased at www.shockervision.tv for $10.95.