PROVO -- In the final game of the Molten Classic, the BYU Cougars (3-6) took on the only undefeated team in the tournament, Wichita State, and was defeated in four sets (19-25, 25-22, 21-25, 21-25). The win gave Wichita State the Molten Classic title.
“I was pleased,” BYU head coach Shay Goulding said following the loss. “I’m never pleased with a loss but I’ve been dialing things around and trying to find something that works and tonight we found a group that likes to work together. So we’ll go with this and see where it goes.”
The Cougars got off to a decent start early on but still, three kills early on by true freshman Jennifer Hamson found them down 15-12. Two kills by a fellow freshman by Jessica Jardine, who started for the first time in her career, brought them back within two 19-17 and forced Wichita State head coach Chris Lamb to call a timeout. However, BYU was unable to overcome the early deficit losing the set 25-19.
The Shockers took an early 4-0 lead but two straight attack errors by Wichita State gave the Cougars a chance to bounce back before eventually tying the score at 9-9 after a Christie Carpenter kill. A controversial call on the following possession would give BYU their first lead of the set. The two teams would tie again at 11-11 but the Shockers would then go on a 4-0 run to take a 15-11 lead.
Once again, the Cougars would not go down without a fight, deadlocking the score at 19-19 after a service ace by Hamson and an attack error by Wichita State. The score would be knotted again at 20, 21 and 22 before BYU was finally able to pull away when it really mattered. A block by Nicole Warner and Heather Hannemann followed by a solo block by Hamson sealed the deal as BYU won the second set 25-22.
The third set started slow for the Cougars as they found themselves down 8-5 due to strong hitting by the Shockers and several costly BYU errors. Two kills by Jennifer Hamson seemed to reenergize a struggling Cougar squad bringing them within two. A kill by Carpenter tied the score at 10-10. The two teams exchanged points back and forth as Wichita State tried to pull away from BYU but the Cougars kept coming back for more. The Shockers were able to extend their lead to three and never looked back winning the set 25-21.
BYU started the fourth set strong with another three kills by Hamson on a .600 hitting percentage. Still, the Cougars struggled to keep up with Wichita State calling a timeout down 13-9. The timeout proved effective for BYU who would go on a 3-0 run forcing the Shockers to call a timeout of their own. Down 22-18, Kendalyn Hartsock’s ace would bring BYU within three. Still, the Cougars were unable to complete the comeback losing 25-21.
Despite the loss it was a career night for several Cougars. Hartsock, Brooke Soon and Heather Hannemann all had a career high in digs with 22, 18 and 8 respectively. Hannemann also had a career high in assists with 32.
BYU’s Jennifer Hamson and Stephanie Snow were named to the classic’s all-tournament team along with Jasmine Rankins (LMU), Emily Adney (WSU), Lucy Charuk (Houston) and Stephanie Nwachukwa (Houston). Camri Zwiesler of Wichita State was named the classic MVP.
Houston Picks Up Another Win In Molten Classic
PROVO -- Game five of the BYU Molten Classic finished with Houston coming out with its second win of the tournament, defeating Loyola Marymount 3-0 (25-19, 25-15, 25-23).
The Houston Cougars were led by middle blockers Stephanie Nwachukwu and Chandace Tryon tallying 11 kills each. Tryon finished the match with .556 hitting while setter Amber Brooks led the match with 40 assists.
Felicia Arriola of LMU led the match with 17 digs while Lucy Charuk of Houston finished with a match-high five blocks.
In set one, Chandace Tryon dominated the court with seven kills on a .667 clip, leading her Cougars to a 25-19 victory, while Stephanie Nwachukwu led Houston in the second set with six kills on .455 hitting. Amanda Carson held up the back row with seven digs, downing the Lions 25-15.
The third was neck-and-neck until Houston tallied a pair of blocks and a kill by Nwachukwu to put away set three 25-23.