PROVO, Utah (Aug. 26, 2011) – The BYU women’s volleyball team opened the BYU Nike Invitational Friday against No. 8 Illinois. The team played strong to start the match, but fell 3-0 (28-26, 25-22, 25-16) to the Fighting Illini in the Smith Fieldhouse.
“Overall, we're pleased with their effort,” said BYU head coach Shawn Olmstead. “Now we're able to see where we're at and where we need to go. I’m glad we can compare ourselves to a great team like that. We're not doing well enough to compete with those guys quite yet. I was pleased with the girls’ effort and staying in the match for the most part. It got away from us a little in the third match but I was pleased overall.”
Sophomore opposite hitter Jennifer Hamson led all players with a career-high 17 kills and added three blocks and four digs.
With her dominant play, Olmstead said it was critical to keep Hamson in the game.
“Ideally we want her to stay healthy,” Olmstead stated. “That’s a lot of swings for one kid to take to keep us afloat and that’s what she did. Our expectations are she continues to play the way she did, but we have the ability to get better numbers from other hitters as well.”
Junior setter Heather Hanneman showed her defensive prowess leading all players with 15 digs and 27 assists. She was followed by junior libero Kendalyn Hartsock with nine digs and sophomore outside hitter Jessica Jardine with six. Jardine also had the second-most kills for BYU with six.
Despite a young starting lineup, the Cougars jumped out to a quick 3-0 lead and retained it through most of the set with only three lead changes. The score was tied 12 times as the set wore on, but the Fighting Illini slipped past to take the game 28-26. Hamson led all players with eight kills in the first set.
In the second set, BYU again was the first to score. In similar fashion, the score was tied seven times before Illinois pulled ahead 25-22. Michelle Bartsch of Illinois had five kills in the set.
Led by Bartsch, Illinois came out strong in the third set, punching out a 6-0 run to take the score to 19-9. BYU was unable to recover, ending the match at 25-16.
“Our ball control just broke down,” Olmstead said. “We got tentative. We weren't getting aced. They only aced us twice. We just started to be hesitant.”
The Cougars take on UC Santa Barbara Saturday at 10 a.m. in the Fieldhouse in their second match of the BYU Nike Invitational.
UCSB Comes Back From Two Sets Down to Defeat St. Mary's
UC Santa Barbara stunned St. Mary’s in the BYU Nike Invitational, coming back from two sets down to claim a 21-25, 22-25, 25-20, 25-23, 15-12 win in Friday’s second game.
UCSB was led by the tandem of Stacey Schmidt and Leah Sully who recorded 18 and 16 kills, respectively. Sully also added 18 digs while Hanna Nielson led all players with 45 assists.
With each team claiming two games apiece, St. Mary’s bounced back to take a 6-3 lead. But the Gauchos came back again just as they had all night, taking the lead for the first time in the set, 10-9, after a Gael attack error.
UCSB scored three of the match’s last four points, including a service ace by Kara Sherrard and a match-winning kill by Schmidt for the season-opening win.
Lauren Corp had 16 kills and 14 digs for St. Mary’s. Sarah Reams had a team-high 23 digs while Missy White led the Gaels with 39 assists.
St. Mary’s reeled off wins in games one and two without much trouble, as Crop nine kills in both games combined.