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No. 15 BYU trumps Princeton
WASHINGTON, D.C.—Tallying its second sweep on the weekend, Alexa Gray's kills led the unbeaten No. 15 BYU women’s volleyball team to a 3-0 (25-14, 25-11, 25-21) victory against Princeton Saturday in the Cougars' second match of the George Washington Invitational.
"I thought we played a great match this morning against Princeton," head coach Shawn Olmstead said. "Again we got a lot of good reps for different kids on our roster, which gives experience. That's always good."
The win was BYU’s eighth sweep of the season, pushing the Cougars’ undefeated record to 11-0. Princeton falls to 3-6 on the season.
Gray led the Cougars with 14 kills on .367 hitting. Ciara Parker led the back row with 21 digs and Heather Hannemann had 39 assists.
BYU took an early 5-1 lead in the first set. Jennifer Hamson and Jessica Jardine pushed that lead to eight with three kills in a row for a score of 18-10. Gray’s cross-court kill put the Cougars ahead 24-14, giving Hannemann the chance at a set-winning service ace.
Three kills from Gray opened the second set, getting the Cougars off to a 4-1 start. Another 6-0 run fueled by Princeton errors gave BYU a comfortable 10-2 lead. A 3-0 mini scoring streak wasn’t enough to get the Tigers back in the game, as BYU responded with its own three points to take a 19-9 lead.
Kathryn LeCheminant set up set point on a kill, allowing Parker to take the set on another BYU service ace for the 25-11 win.
Princeton kept the third set closer than the previous two, not letting the Cougars get more than five points ahead until a Gray kill took the set to 12-6. That was the start of a 6-0 run for BYU that once again gave the Cougars a 10-point lead. The Tigers chipped a couple of points off the lead, but Cougar hitters kept BYU rolling toward the finish line. Redshirt freshman Kimberly Dahl’s kill and service ace put the Cougars’ lead at 21-13.
Kills from Kimberli Boswell and Gray inched BYU closer to the victory, but a last-second Princeton rally delayed the end of the match. The Tigers had a 6-1 run to bring them within three points at 23-20. A Hamson kill ended the streak and a Dahl kill finished off the match. Dahl ended the match with a career-high five kills.
The match was BYU's shortest match of the season, ending in one hour exactly.
The Cougars now prepare to take on host George Washington at 7 p.m. EDT. Live stats and video streaming links are available on the BYU women's volleyball schedule page.
Cougars head to D.C. for George Washington Invite
PROVO, Utah—Still undefeated on the season, the No. 15 BYU women’s volleyball team takes to Washington, D.C., for the George Washington Invitational Friday and Saturday, the team’s final tournament before conference play.
The Cougars, now 9-0, are enjoying their highest ranking since 2007, when they finished the season at No. 12.
In the nation’s capital, BYU will face three East Coast schools—New Hampshire Friday at 5 p.m. EDT, Princeton on Saturday at noon EDT and host George Washington at 7 p.m. EDT.
West Coast Conference Player of the Week Jennifer Hamson leads the Cougars with 4.45 kills per set. Hamson is No. 16 in Division I volleyball for kills per set and No. 6 in DI volleyball for points per set with 5.35. Senior setter Heather Hannemann is No. 15 in Division I volleyball with 11.71 assists per set.
Senior middle blocker Nicole Warner, who finished the season No. 6 for blocks per set in 2011, is No. 6 again with 1.65 blocks per set.
BYU has players in the top 20 in four of the seven statistics categories the NCAA follows.
New Hampshire comes off a 2-1 weekend at the Holly Young Invitational, which put the team’s current record at 4-6. The Wildcats easily finished off Holy Cross 3-0 in the opening match of the invitational, but met with trouble in their next match against Central Connecticut State. New Hampshire slipped by with the five-set win, but couldn’t rally beat William and Mary in the five-set final match.
New Hampshire plays against Bryant prior to the George Washington Invitational.
The Wildcats are led by opposite hitter Morgan Thatcher, who averages 3.55 kills per set and has 142 total kills. Opposite Destiny Tollister is another Wildcat to look out for, averaging 2.51 kills, 1.13 digs per set and .72 blocks per set. Tolliver already has nine solo blocks on the season and 28 total.
Princeton is 2-3 on the season after winning one and losing one at the Colgate Invitational over the weekend. The Tigers defeated host Colgate 3-0, but fell the next morning to Siena in a 3-2 match.
Before heading to Washington, D.C., the Tigers will take on Seton Hall in New Jersey Wednesday.
Lydia Rudnick has 76 kills on the season at 4.22 per set. With her 2.72 digs per set, the senior outside hitter is responsible for 4.75 points per set for the Tigers. Nicole Kincade helps out at the net with 1.50 blocks per set as No. 10 in DI volleyball in that category.
Host George Washington is looking to rebound after a 0-3 weekend at the Spring Hill Suites at Arundel Mills Invitational at Maryland. The Colonials fell to No. 16 Tennessee, a team BYU defeated in the Shocker Volleyball Classic, and to Maryland in three sets before losing to Boston College 3-1.
The Colonials will play against Princeton Friday night and New Hampshire Saturday morning before taking on the Cougars in the final match of the tournament.
With 136 kills this season, senior outside hitter Lauren Whyte leads the Colonials. She averages 3.49 kills per set. Libero Candace Silva-Martin leads in digs with 3.28 per set.
Live stats are available for the match on the George Washington schedule page. Live streaming for all matches is available with a monthly subscription.
George Washington Invitational Notes
BYU vs. New Hampshire live stats