HONOLULU – Alexa Gray led BYU women’s volleyball in a three-set (25-21, 25-17, 25-13) sweep of No. 11 Hawaii in the second round of the NCAA Tournament in Honolulu on Saturday to advance to the Sweet 16 for the second consecutive year.
“Hats off to Hawaii and their fans on a great season,” BYU head coach Shawn Olmstead said. “Our team played a complete match from start to finish. Our middles Kat (LeCheminant) and Whitney (Young) played unreal. Our defense was strong and our outside hitters scored a lot of points for us out at the pins. It's exciting to move on and we look forward to the matchup in Los Angeles. I can't say enough about the work and time our assistants put into our match preparation.”
Gray led the Cougars with 13 kills on 33 attempts to hit a .273 clip, and tied a career high in blocks with seven. Sophomore Ciara Parker had a team-high 15 digs while sophomore Camry Godfrey added 35 assists. Freshman Whitney Young contributed eight blocks, a team-high, to help BYU defensively. Junior Tambre Haddock had her third-straight double-double from 11 kills and 11 digs.
Godfrey gave the Cougars (24-6) their first points of set one with a dump kill. Play was consistent in the first several minutes of the set as both teams traded points. The score was tied from points 1 to 10 until BYU scored three straight to take a 12-10 advantage. That rally was countered by a 5-1 Rainbow Wahine (25-5) run to take the 15-13 lead at the media timeout. The Cougars took their first three-point lead at 20-17 from a Gray kill. Haddock gave BYU set point from consecutive kills and a Hawaii attack error gave the Cougars the first set, 25-21.
The second set began with a 6-1 lead for BYU from the help of a trio of Cougar blocks. From that point, BYU maintained around a five-point advantage until Young contributed three-consecutive blocks to extend the Cougar lead to eight at 16-8. BYU led by as many as 11 points in the second set as the Cougars coasted to a 25-17 set two win, ending with two straight Gray kills.
Both teams exchanged points early in the third set until BYU went on a 5-0 run to take the 8-3 advantage. The Rainbow Wahine were forced to take their final timeout of the set after consecutive points put the Cougars ahead 12-6. Following the timeout, BYU had a 5-1 rally that gave the Cougars an eight-point lead at 17-9. Hawaii struggled to find its offense and defend BYU’s as the Cougars easily took the third set to sweep the Rainbow Wahine, 25-13.
The win advances BYU to the regional semifinals of the NCAA Tournament where the Cougars will face No. 6 USC on Friday. Links to live stats and video can be found on the BYU women’s volleyball schedule page.
Women's volleyball to participate in NCAA tournament
PROVO, Utah – The BYU women’s volleyball team received an at-large bid to the 2013 NCAA Tournament and will travel to Hawaii to take on Arizona State in the first round on Friday.
“I’m excited for the girls,” BYU head coach Shawn Olmstead said. “It’s a compliment for them for their work.”
The Cougars (22-6, 15-3 West Coast Conference) will play against Arizona State in the first round and the winner will play the winner of the match between No. 11 Hawaii and Idaho State. BYU will play at 5 p.m. HST while Hawaii and Idaho State will face off at 7:30 p.m. HST. The winners will play Saturday at 7 p.m. HST in the second round of the tournament.
BYU, Arizona State, Hawaii and Idaho State are part of the Los Angeles Region. Saturday’s winner will advance to the region semifinals on Dec. 13 in Los Angeles.
The Cougars have advanced to the NCAA tournament for the second-straight season. In 2012, BYU hosted the first and second rounds and advanced to the regional semifinals, before losing to No. 5 seed Oregon.
First and second round opponents
Arizona State is 19-13 on the season and 8-12 in the Pac-12. The Sun Devil’s finished ninth in league play.
Hawaii ended the regular season 24-4 and 13-3 in Big West play. The Rainbow Wahine finished tied for first in their league.
Idaho State is 23-11 overall and 14-6 in the Big Sky. The Bengals finished third in their conference and won the auto-bid after defeating Portland State in the Big Sky tournament.
BYU is one of two teams from the WCC to earn a spot in the NCAA Tournament. San Diego received the automatic bid and the Cougars earned an at-large bid.
Five of BYU’s opponents this season made it into the NCAA tournament. Besides conference foe San Diego, Utah, Marquette, Oklahoma and Creighton earned spots in the tournament. The Cougars are 3-3 against teams that will play in the tournament this year.
Tickets will go on sale on Tuesday, Dec. 2 at 9 a.m. HST/Noon MST on Hawaii’s website, HawaiiAthletics.com.
Packages (2-day): Adults (Lower or Upper) - $30
Upper Senior Citizen - $20
Upper Student - $13
Single game prices: Adults (Lower or Upper)- $18
Upper Senior Citizen - $12
Upper Student - $8
All matches will be streamed live through NCAA.com.
Live stats will be available on the Hawaii volleyball schedule page.