SAN FRANCISCO—The BYU women’s volleyball team secured the No. 3 position in the West Coast Conference with a 3-1 (25-19, 25-14, 23-25, 25-23) defeat of San Francisco Thursday night on the Dons’ home court.
“It was an exciting win for the Cougars, for sure,” BYU head coach Shawn Olmstead said. “We had our backs against the wall a couple of times, but I think we responded really well and fought to the end. We were able to score at crucial times.”
Senior outside hitter Christie Carpenter led the Cougars (17-7, 6-4) on offense with 16 kills, also adding four digs and four blocks. Middle blocker Nicole Warner had 10 kills and six blocks and setter Heather Hannemann had 41 assists and eight digs.
Libero Kendalyn Hartsock broke a career high with a whopping 31 digs, as did defensive specialist Tia Withers with her 17 digs. Kathryn LeCheminant led in blocking with seven. Opposite hitter Jennifer Hamson tied her career high of five service aces and contributed 11 digs and five blocks.
The team totaled 13.0 blocks and held USF (13-10, 5-5) to 4.0.
The Cougars allowed a 4-1 run in the first set before settling into their game and firing off back-to-back kills by Hamson and Warner. Two-straight kills by freshman Katie Vaughn and a Hamson service ace tied the set 7-7 and Carpenter pushed BYU to its first lead of the match on a kill. The Carpenter kill kicked off a 4-0 run for the Cougars for a 12-8 lead.
Hamson’s second ace of the set put BYU ahead 19-13, but USF chipped away at the lead with three straight kills to bring the score to 21-18. Undaunted by the Dons’ run, the Cougars wrapped up the set 25-19 with the help of USF errors.
Continuing her domination on offense, Carpenter threw down the first two kills of the second set for BYU. The Dons sprang back within one, but attack errors continued to haunt them. A third ace by Hamson brought the score to 6-3. Carpenter and Hannemann continued the Cougars’ steady march toward a second-set win with a 3-1 scoring streak. The Cougars forced three more USF errors to double the Dons’ score 14-7. LeCheminant stayed strong at the net, making two blocks to help the Cougars to a 10-point lead. The set ended 25-14 with Carpenter putting up the Cougars’ last three points. Carpenter totaled seven kills on the set.
The Dons wouldn’t give BYU an easy win, taking a 3-2 lead early in the set and not letting go despite three ties. It took a Carpenter kill and a USF error to get the Cougars back in the lead. Warner and Carpenter teamed up for a block to take BYU to an 12-8 lead.
Valentina Zazloznik brought the Dons within one point of the Cougars and Jocelyn Levig tied the set 15-15. An error by Vaughn put USF on top, but the freshman made up for it by knocking down a kill to tie 16-16. BYU tried to break away, but USF held on tight, resulting in three more ties. USF broke out of the deadlock and skipped ahead 22-20 before a Don attack error and well-placed Warner kill tied the set 22-22. LeCheminant and Vaughn blocked Hadley Simmon to recover the lead for BYU, but three quick kills by the Dons gave USF its first set of the match 25-23.
BYU took the early lead in the fourth set, but the Dons came back for a 6-6 tie. USF took the lead on a Cougar error, leaving BYU scrambling to stay in control. Carpenter tied the set 8-8, but couldn’t spark the Cougars’ momentum. The Dons’ Anja Segota spurred USF to a 12-10 lead before back-to-back Hamson service aces gave BYU a 13-12 lead. The aces brought Hamson’s total to five, tying her career high.
The Cougars maintained that lead until Malina Terrell tied the set 16-16 on a kill and Joan Caloiaro’s kill pushed the Dons ahead. Two Segota kills gave USF a 21-18 lead. BYU made a comeback with the help of two blocks and a kill by LeCheminant, tying the set 23-23. LeCheminant teamed up with Hannemann to block Levig and Carpenter finished off the set 25-23 on a kill.
The Cougars face Santa Clara Saturday at 1 p.m. PDT in Santa Clara, Calif., hoping to end their California road trip with two straight victories.