PROVO -- Wearing pink in support of Breast Cancer Awareness month, the BYU women’s volleyball team (8-12, 3-3 MWC) defeated the UNLV Rebels (6-14, 2-5 MWC) in Smith Fieldhouse on Saturday. The clean sweep of the Rebels gave the Cougars their fifth-straight sweep.
“I think the difference between now and five matches ago is confidence,” BYU head coach Shay Goulding said following the match. “The skill is there and now the confidence is there - the two go hand-in-hand. The maturity has definitely come especially in our backcourt.”
Stephanie Snow led the Cougars with 11 kills followed by Jennifer Hamson and Christina Measom who both posted nine kills in the victory. Senior setter Kiana Rogers posted her seventh double-double of the season by the end of the second set and finished with 32 assists and 13 digs.
BYU came out strong in the first set as balanced hitting gave the Cougars an early 9-5 lead. A Christie Carpenter block excited the BYU faithful as the Cougars took a 12-7 lead forcing the Rebels to take a timeout. However, BYU continued their strong play and scored two consecutive points off Hamson solo blocks. UNLV would call another timeout with the score 14-7. Coming out of the huddle Carpenter tallied another block followed by a Nicole Warner ace giving the Cougars a nine-point advantage. BYU would go on to win the set 25-14 off .367 hitting and after out-blocking the Rebels 12-2. Hamson recorded five blocks in the first set alone.
On the first play of the second set, Hamson tied her career-high of six blocks. Carpenter posted two kills early in the set to give the Cougars a 7-3 lead but a four-point run by UNLV tied the score at seven-all. The score would be knotted four more times before BYU pulled away due in large part to strong hitting by Snow and Carpenter. A service ace (her second of the night) gave Cougar libero Kendalyn Hartsock a career-high and BYU an 18-14 lead. A Carpenter kill gave the Cougars the set victory with a score of 25-17.
The Cougars found themselves down 3-1 to open the set but a Snow block followed by a Hamson ace tied the score at three-all. Still, the Cougars struggled take the lead in the set falling behind 11-8 at one point in the set but two straight kills by Hamson brought BYU within one of the Rebels. UNLV would pull away once more to take a 14-11 lead but again the Cougars responded tying the game at 14-all and again at 15, 16, 17 and 18-all. A Measom service ace gave BYU their first lead of the set. Three Snow kills late in the set extended the Cougars lead and a Measom kill sealed the deal for the Cougars as they won the set 25-23.
“I think earlier this season we wouldn’t have recovered in the third set like we did,” Goulding said. “So I wasn’t happy with it but I was pleased we were able to pull ourselves out of it.”
The Cougars will travel to New Mexico to take on the Lobos on Thursday at 7 p.m. as they look to keep their streak alive.