PROVO, Utah—BYU, the No. 13 seeded team in the NCAA tournament, won a hard-fought battle against Ohio in four sets (19-25, 25-23, 25-17, 26-24) Friday night to advance to the second round of the tournament.
"What a great volleyball match, with a great crowd and great energy," BYU head coach Heather Olmstead said. "I can't say enough about Ohio's team and its coaching staff. They played a fantastic match. We're excited to be advancing, but what a great game."
Amy Boswell had 18 kills, tying her career high, while adding four blocks. Alexa Gray led the Cougars with 21 kills, eight digs and a four blocks. Ciara Parker collected 18 digs in the winning efforts of the Cougars. Cosy Burnett contributed six kills and Lacy Haddock ended the night with seven. The Cougars also finished with a .250 team hitting percentage on the night.
Boswell got things going for the Cougars in the first set with three kills to give BYU a 3-2 lead. The teams traded kills until Ohio pulled away on errors, taking a 9-6 lead. Attack errors from the Bobcats brought the Cougars within one, but Ohio added two blocks to take a 12-9 edge. The Bobcats added three kills to take the score to 15-11. A pair of kills from Danelle Parady brought the score within two, but back-to-back defensive stands from Ohio gave it an 18-14 advantage. Kills from Burnett, Gray and Boswell kept the Cougars in the game at 20-17, but the Ohio defense stood strong behind kills from Mallory Salis and Ali Lake to win the game 25-19.
Kills from Gray and Boswell gave BYU an early 3-1 lead in the second set. The teams traded kills until back-to-back aces from Alohi Robins-Hardy gave the Cougars a 10-6 advantage. Two blocks from the Bobcats brought the score back to 10-all. Veronica Jones gave BYU the lead again on a kill from the right side, and Haddock would add an ace to put the Cougars up by four, 14-10. Gray’s solo block kept the Cougars 5-0 run alive before a kill from Salis ended the run, and the Bobcats won the next four points. Kills from Parady and Gray took the score to 17-14, but strong defense from Ohio brought the score back within a point. The teams traded kills again until a Gray kill gave the Cougars a 20-18 lead. Haddock’s kill extended the Cougars lead to three before back-to-back errors brought the advantage down to one. A kill down the middle from Whitney Young Howard then gave BYU a 24-23 lead and set point. The Cougars ended the set on a Boswell kill to get the 25-23 win.
Gray started off the third set with two kills and two aces to give the Cougars a 6-4 early edge. Haddock added a kill and a block with Boswell to extend BYU's lead to four. The Bobcats won the next three points, but the Cougars answered with a 5-0 run before a Salis kill made the score 13-9, BYU. Gray and Burnett kills then followed to give the Cougars a 16-10 lead. The teams traded points until a block from Howard and Gray gave them a 22-15 lead. BYU closed out the third set on a Gray kill, 25-17.
The fourth set saw a lot of back-and-forth action between the teams. The Cougars got things going early with a kill each from Gray and Boswell and a block from the pair to take a 3-1 lead. The teams traded points until an error on BYU and a kill from setter Abby Gilleland tied the game at 7-all. A block for Salis and Karin Bull then gave the Bobcats a 15-12 lead, the largest of the set. Burnett’s kill and a couple of errors on Ohio knotted the score back at 15 apiece. Points were traded again, and at 18-18, Gray’s kill put the Cougars in front 19-18. The Bobcats won the next two points, and BYU won the following three to bring the game to 22-21. The nailbiter continued as Ohio tied the score again at 24-all. Haddock recorded a kill to make it 25-24, and Salis hit a kill wide right to end the set and the match at 26-24.
BYU will face Western Kentucky in the second round of the NCAA tournament tomorrow, Saturday, Dec. 5, at 7 p.m. MST at the Smith Fieldhouse. The game will be broadcast live on BYUtv and simulcast on BYU Radio. Live stats can be found on the BYU women's volleyball schedule page.
Western Kentucky takes down Arizona in straight sets
PROVO, Utah—No. 20 Western Kentucky took down Arizona in straight sets (25-22, 25-15, 25-17) in the first round of the NCAA tournament Friday evening at the Smith Fieldhouse in Provo.
After trailing the Hilltoppers in the first set 13-9, the Wildcats brought the score to 15-14. The teams traded points until Western Kentucky pulled out a 25-22 victory.
Western Kentucky jumped out to a quick 5-1 lead in the second set. The Hilltoppers extended their lead to 13-6, but Arizona got behind a strong offensive effort, led by senior Nikki Attea, to make it 15-11 for Western Kentucky. The Hilltoppers' offensive quickly caught fire as they took their lead to six, 21-15. They finished off the game 25-15, behind five kills from sophomore Alyssa Cavanaugh.
Arizona came out strong in the third set, taking a 5-2 lead. Defensive efforts from the Hilltoppers, including a solo block from Hayley Bodway, tied the score at 6-6. The teams traded points back-and-forth until Western Kentucky pulled away with an 11-8 lead. The Hilltoppers then extended their lead to 19-12 behind kills from Sydney Engle. They held strong to the end of the game, winning the third set and match 25-17.