Jenny Craig Pavilion
Jenny Craig Pavilion San Diego CA 92110
SAN DIEGO—In only its second year in the West Coast Conference the No. 13 BYU women’s volleyball team clinched a share of the league title despite falling to No. 18 San Diego in a 3-2 (25-23, 28-26, 13-25, 23-25, 15-13) decision Saturday on the Toreros’ home court.
“I’m so happy for the girls,” BYU head coach Shawn Olmstead said. “It’s been such an exciting and rewarding season. These kids deserve this championship and I’m so happy to see them raise that trophy.”
The conference championship is BYU’s first since the 2005 season.
BYU won the tiebreaker for the automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament. Because both teams had the same record and both teams lost to Santa Clara, Saint Mary’s and each other, the conference looked at the number of sets won in the BYU-San Diego series. BYU won five sets total and San Diego won four sets total in the two matches played this season, giving BYU the automatic bid.
BYU drops to 25-3 on the season and 13-3 in conference for the team’s best league record since 2006. San Diego improves to 21-6 and 13-3 in league play.
Three Cougars had double-doubles. Jennifer Hamson had 23 kills, her second match with more than 20 kills this week, and a season-high 15 digs. Setter Heather Hannemann, who became No. 8 in BYU history for career assists in BYU’s defeat of Pepperdine, recorded 55 assists and a season-high 15 digs. Nicole Warner passed Amy Gant’s career block assists record to become No. 3 in BYU history for block assists with her 12 block assists. She totaled 13 blocks with 10 kills and now has 602 career block assists. Kathryn LeCheminant also scored double-figure kills with 10.
The Cougars had 17 blocks to San Diego’s seven, though the Toreros had the edge in kills (70-68) and digs (104-99). BYU had the better hitting percentage, hitting .234 while the Toreros hit .158.
BYU started the first set 4-1 and quickly increased its lead to 8-4. The Toreros fought back within one point at 9-8, but the Cougars took another 4-1 stroll to halt San Diego’s momentum and put the score at 13-9. Toreros Shelby Staab and Sandra Lozic blocked Warner to tie the score up at 17-17, but BYU kept the edge with an error by Lozic on the next point.
San Diego took its first lead of the set with a big block and pushed ahead 21-19 on a kill from Carrie Baird. Down 24-23, BYU had a chance to tie it up with LeCheminant serving, but a Lozic kill gave the 25-23 set to the Toreros.
Behind to start the second set, the Cougars overcame a 3-1 deficit to take a 5-3 lead on a kill by Kimberly Dahl. San Diego tied it up at 10-10 and took an opportunity to pass the Cougars with the help of a kill by Alaysia Brown.
BYU couldn’t get back on top until a Hamson kill brought the score to 23-22 for the Toreros. A block by Warner and Gray tied the score at 24-24 and another kill by Hamson put BYU in the lead. San Diego stole it back, and BYU couldn’t capitalize on another tie, falling 28-26 to put the Toreros ahead 2-0 on the match.
The Cougars shot forward in the third set, leading 9-1 before the Toreros got back in the game. The Toreros were able to cut the lead down to seven, but a 4-1 BYU run which included a block by Jardine and Warner and a Hamson kill gave BYU its biggest lead of the match so far at 21-11. Three-straight Cougar points, two by Hamson, gave the Cougars an easy 25-13 win in the third.
Trailing 11-7 in the fourth quarter, BYU went on an 11-2 run to regain the lead. Back-to-back kills by Dahl pushed BYU forward to a 22-15 lead before San Diego took a 6-2 run to cut the lead to 24-23. Warner stepped up to make the kill to give BYU the fourth set and push the match to a fifth set.
San Diego took the lead in the fifth set, outscoring BYU 8-3 to start. Dahl scored on two kills to get BYU back in the game, down only 8-6 now. BYU fought to stay with the Toreros, bringing the score to 14-13, but a kill by Lisa Kramer gave the set and the match to San Diego.
BYU will take on UVU Tuesday at 7 p.m. MST at the Smith Fieldhouse. The selection show for the NCAA Tournament will be held Sunday, Nov. 25 at 4 p.m. EST. The show can be viewed online at NCAA.com.
Cougars, Toreros face off for WCC title
PROVO, Utah—In the last week of conference play, the No. 13 BYU women’s volleyball team hits the road to engage No. 18 San Diego in the final battle for the league title Saturday after facing Pepperdine Thursday.
A BYU victory in one of this week’s two matches would give the Cougars at least a share of the West Coast Conference title and victories in both would give BYU the outright win. With all their conference matches completed except the match against BYU, the Toreros need the Saturday victory if they don’t want to end up in second place in the WCC for the second year in a row.
The Thursday match against Pepperdine in Malibu, Calif., begins at 7 p.m. PST and the Saturday match in San Diego begins at 1 p.m. PST.
BYU is 24-2 on the season and 12-2 in conference. With a .923 win-loss record going into the last three matches of the season, the Cougars are enjoying their best winning percentage since 1986, when BYU went 40-3 with a win-loss percentage of .930 and a No. 4 national finish.
Three Cougars are ranked in four NCAA statistics categories, with senior middle blocker Nicole Warner leading the pack at No. 1 for blocks per set (1.77) and No. 6 for hitting percentage (.434). Senior setter Heather Hannemann comes in at No. 26 for assists per set (11.24) and junior opposite hitter Jennifer Hamson is No. 28 for points per set (4.87).
Hamson leads the Cougars with 3.91 kills per set, helped out by freshman outside hitter Alexa Gray’s 3.45 kills per set. Hamson reached 1,000 career kills in the Cougars’ last victory. Hamson only needs 182 more kills to make it into the top 10 in BYU history for career kills.
Also in BYU’s record books, Warner sits at No. 4 in block assists with 588 and No. 4 in total blocks with 614. Warner needs seven more block assists to pass Amy Steele Gant to become No. 3 in that category and 81 more total blocks to pass Gant in that category.
In her second year as a starter, Heather Hannemann is No. 9 in BYU history for assists with 2,247 and needs 36 more to pass Amy Schlauder to become No. 8.
After last week’s sweep of Santa Clara, BYU is still at No. 1 in Division I for hitting percentage (.316). Due to only playing one match in week 12, BYU is now in second place for win-loss record (.923), tied with Stanford. Penn State jumped ahead of BYU in that category with a record of 25-2 and a winning percentage of .926. BYU is also No. 6 in blocks per set with 3.01.
The Cougars come in at No. 12 in the RPI rankings. Even with a loss this week, the Cougars should receive their first bid to the NCAA Tournament since 2007 at the end of the regular season.
With the Cougars’ last two conference matches on the road, BYU maintains its undefeated home record in WCC play at 8-0. The Cougars end the regular season with a match against UVU Nov. 20 at 7 p.m. MST at the Smith Fieldhouse.
Looking to end a three-match losing streak—which includes losses to San Diego, Loyola Marymount and San Francisco—the Waves (18-10, 7-7 WCC) will host BYU before taking on Gonzaga. The losing streak bumped Pepperdine out of the top 25, though the Waves are still receiving votes.
At No. 36 in RPI, the Waves still have a chance of receiving an at-large bid into the NCAA Tournament.
Jazmine Orozco leads Pepperdine with 3.79 kills per set with the help of setter Kellie Woolever’s 11.19 assists per set. Michaela Christiaansen leads in digs with a 3.63 average and Victoria Adelhelm leads in blocks with 1.18 per set.
In the teams’ last meeting, BYU swept the then-No. 14 Waves at the Smith Fieldhouse. The Cougars lead the all-time series with Pepperdine 13-8-0.
The Toreros are 20-5 this season and 12-3 in conference. At No. 2 in conference standings, their last chance to win a share of the conference title is Saturday against BYU. San Diego faces San Diego State in a non-conference, cross-town showdown Wednesday before meeting with the Cougars.
At No. 24 in RPI, San Diego has a good chance of making it into the NCAA Tournament even if the team loses either of its matches this week.
Three Toreros take care of offense for San Diego. Chloe Ferrari leads with 2.72 kills per set, followed by Katie Hoekman and Alaysia Brown with 2.64 apiece. Hoekman also leads in blocks with 1.11 per set. Rachel Alvey runs the floor with 9.86 assists per set while Kandiss Anderson leads in digs with a 3.74 average.
The Cougars and the Toreros last met on Halloween, when BYU took down San Diego 3-1 on ESPNU. Since then, BYU has been in sole possession of the No. 1 spot in conference standings. San Diego leads the overall series 3-2.
How to follow
Live video streaming and live stats for the San Diego match are available on San Diego’s Game Central page.
Follow the team’s Twitter feed @BYUwvolleyball for live updates.