PROVO -- The No. 20 BYU women’s volleyball team took home the Molten Classic Tournament title Saturday night after a thrilling five-set victory (25-20, 19-25, 25-10, 22-25, 17-15) in the Smith Fieldhouse. Senior Bryn Porter earned MVP honors and true freshman Malia Marquardt was named to the All-Tournament team for their efforts in helping the Cougars improve to 3-0 on the year.
“The theme of this weekend was maturity, and I’m very excited for this season based on what I saw,” said BYU head coach Shay Goulding. “Missouri gave us an amazing effort, and I’m glad they played the way they did and we were able to respond. This match gives us great momentum for the rest of the year.”
Porter led BYU with a career-high 19 kills on the night while also setting a personal best with 16 digs. Marquardt tallied the first double-double of her career with 12 kills and 10 dig while sophomore setter Kiana Rogers posted her second of the day with 45 assists and a career-high 21 digs. Senior middle blocker Rachel Dyer also notched double-digit kills with 11 while tying with junior outside hitter Kayla Walker for team-high blocking honors with eight rejections.
The Cougars started strong in set one, jumping out to an early 7-2 lead thanks to contributions from all over the court. Despite the BYU pressure, Tulane quickly fought back to even the score at 10-10. The two teams battled from there as both offenses proved potent. Walker finally pushed BYU through with a kill and a solo block to establish an 18-15 lead. The slim margin was enough in the end as the Cougars pulled out a 25-20 win. BYU held Missouri to a .098 hitting percentage in the set while Porter tallied five kills.
Set two began in the same fashion as the first set with an early 6-2 BYU lead that quickly became 12-8 in the Tigers’ favor after a 10-2 run. Not to be outdone on her own floor, Porter sent a huge kill crosscourt to keep BYU in the set. Both teams traded scores through the halfway point of the frame until three straight Tiger kills gave them their largest lead at 17-11. Walker stopped the Missouri momentum with a shot down the middle to spark a 4-1 BYU run that cut the lead in half. However, another point-for-point tradeoff spelled doom for the Cougars as they could not overcome the deficit, falling 25-19.
Missouri came out firing in set three, scoring the first three points with a kill and two aces. Porter finally got BYU on the scoreboard with a kill down the line, but the Cougars still found themselves trailing 5-1. BYU stormed back with a 6-1 run to take its first lead of the set at 7-6 on a Tiger net violation and then kept the momentum going with back-to-back blocks and two straight aces from junior transfer Morgan Lloyd. The string of points continued for the home team as the run grew to 17-0 and the lead grew to 20-6 in a dominating performance. Scores came from all over the court as the BYU block, the serve of Lloyd and the Cougars’ offensive firepower was too much for the Tigers. Missouri finally stopped the run on a BYU hitting error, but the Cougars rolled to the 25-10.
With their backs against the wall, the Tigers began set four with a 6-2 lead and held the Cougars at bay to a 17-13 advantage. BYU clawed its way back with three straight points and had a chance to knot the score, but three straight Missouri scores once again had the Tigers in control. BYU pushed back to get to within one point at 23-22, Missouri held off the Cougar advance to take the fourth set, 25-22.
Marquardt got BYU going in the fifth set, but the two teams battled back and forth to a 5-5 tie. Missouri became the first team to take a two-point lead with a 7-5 advantage, but Walker answered with a kill. A BYU service error gave the Tigers an 8-6 lead when the two teams traded sides. Things looked bleak for BYU with Missouri leading 13-11 in the shortened fifth set but junior Ashton Hansen Hosford sparked a 3-0 Cougar that gave BYU match point at 14-13. However, the Tigers responded with two straight scores to earn their own match point. But the senior leadership of Porter came through as she put one away to stave off the Tigers and then helped BYU score the next two points to take set five, 17-15.
BYU will take its show on the road over the next three weeks beginning with the Texas A&M Invitational next weekend. The Cougars will face Siena on Friday at 4:30 p.m. before taking on American and the host Aggies on Saturday. All three matches can be heard on BYU Radio.
Tulane Defeats Utah State For First 2008 Victory
The Tulane Green Wave defeated the Utah State Aggies in a sweep (25-16, 25-17, 25-19) Saturday night at the BYU Molten Classic.
Game one began as a back-and-forth rally with neither team able to land a strong lead. Finally a kill by Tulane’s Sara Radosevic got the ball rolling, leading to an 8-5 lead for the Green Wave. This continued to build until Utah State’s Melissa Osterloh stepped up to serve and stopped Tulane run, narrowing the lead to 20-15, but the Aggies were unable to hold on. Tulane fought back stronger, giving them the win in the end, 25-16.
Carrying on with its momentum, Tulane set the pace for set two with an 8-1 lead. Deciding they had had enough, the Aggies pulled together, dampening the Green Wave lead 11-9. However, USU was unable to take the lead. With eight kills from Tulane’s Bridget Wells, the Green Wave won the set, 25-17.
Attempting to turn the match around, the Aggies came into set three scoring the first point with a kill from Kris Hymas. Yet once again they were unable to keep the energy going and eventually fell behind as Tulane took the lead 8-3. A kill by Liz McArthur stopped Tulane’s lead and helped Utah State score five straight points, closing in on the lead 21-16. But Tulane’s early foundation was too strong to crumble, and they took the win, 25-19.