PROVO, Utah -- BYU women’s volleyball bounced back from a heartbreaking loss to Washington by beating the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) in straight sets (25-12, 25-15, 25-13) Saturday afternoon at the Smith Fieldhouse.
"Coming off of a match like last night, it was good to have a match like this where we could rebound - get our feet back under us, get our offense going, get our passing going; all those things," BYU head coach Shawn Olmstead. "I told those girls I’m really proud of how they rebounded and had some mental endurance to get back at it early. With the time that one finished last night, that’s a quick turnaround."
Alexa Gray started the scoring for the Cougars with her first kill of the match. After exchanging early points, BYU went on a 7-0 run to push its lead to 17-8 sparked by strong serving from senior Tia Withers Welling and strong net play from junior Gray and sophomore Whitney Young. Hamson recorded a service ace a few points later to give the Cougars a 21-10 advantage and force a UMBC timeout. The Cougars kept the pressure coming out of the timeout, winning the first set shortly after 25-12 on a block at the net by Young and junior Camry Godfrey Willardson. In the set, the Cougars were led by Hamson and Gray who had five and two kills, respectively, and both hit a .500 clip. Young also led BYU with three blocks.
Hamson started the second set with her sixth kill of the match, but UMBC jumped out to a quick 3-1 lead before another Hamson kill got the Cougars back on the board. After exchanging points, BYU took its first lead of the set, 8-7, on a block by Boswell and senior Tambre Nobles. The Cougars used the momentum to go on a five-point run, capped by a service ace from senior Hannah Robison that pushed the lead to 12-7. BYU continued its strong play throughout the set while increasing its lead. The Cougars closed the set with four-straight points to win the set 25-15 on another service ace from Robison. Hamson again led BYU with five kills. She got help from a strong set by Boswell who had three kills and three blocks.
Gray got back into the mix in the third set with a kill to open the scoring as the Cougars opened up a 5-0 lead. Gray recorded a service ace during that run. After giving up a point, Young took her turn serving BYU into another run, pushing the Cougar lead to 11-1 while recording three aces. Not to be outdone, Hamson joined the serving barrage by helping the Cougars build their lead to 14-2 while recording another ace of her own. BYU continued its dominant play over UMBC, leading by as many as 14 in the set, before winning 25-13 on a Gray kill.
The strong serving from the Cougars approached a single-match rally-scoring era record for team aces with 12. Hamson led the charge with four while Robison and Young both had three apiece. The Retrievers were led by Hannah Schmidt who recorded 10 kills.
The Cougars conclude BYU Invitational play tonight at 7 p.m. MDT when they face Utah Valley in the Smith Fieldhouse.
UVU vs. Washington
No. 5 Washington started things off on the second day of the BYU Invitational with a 3-0 sweep of Utah Valley. The Huskies got off to a hot start in the first set, jumping out to an early 11-6 lead which forced a Wolverine timeout. It was all Washington from that point as it took the first set 25-14 with help from four different players netting a trio of kills. A block from UVU's Kalani Norris and Lauren Bakker kept the score close for UVU, trailing by just a point at 14-13 early in the second set. The two teams remained within two points of each other until the Huskies pulled away to take a 25-19 set two win. The Wolverines jumped out to a quick 5-2 advantage to begin the third set. Washington led by as many as six at 21-15 before a 4-0 UVU run put them behind just two at 21-19. The Huskies proved to be too much for the Wolverines as they took the third set and match 25-23.
No. 10 women's volleyball to host BYU Invitational
PROVO, Utah – After winning the Gold & Blue Player’s Challenge last weekend, No. 10 BYU women’s volleyball returns to its home court Friday and Saturday to host the BYU Invitational.
The Cougars swept host West Virginia, IUPUI and Toledo to take the title. This week BYU will face off against No. 5 Washington, University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) and Utah Valley.
No. 5 Washington
- BYU’s first match will be against No. 5 Washington Friday night at 7 p.m. MDT. The Cougars are 12-0 against the Huskies having last won a five-set thriller in the second round of the NCAA tournament in 2007.
- The Huskies return six starters to this year’s squad who is off to a 3-0 start on the early season.
- In 2013, Washington advanced to the semifinals of the NCAA tournament before falling to eventual champion Penn State. They finished the season with a 32-3 overall record, including going 18-2 in conference play to win the Pac-12.
- The Cougars will next face off against UMBC on Saturday at noon. The Retrievers are currently 4-0 after taking the Hawks Holiday Hullabaloo Tournament in Maryland.
- BYU has never played against UMBC in its history.
- The Retrievers return four starters from a team that went 19-12 and 9-5 in the America East Conference a year ago.
- To conclude the BYU Invitational the Cougars will go up against in-state rival Utah Valley Saturday at 7 p.m. The Wolverines are 0-4 to begin their season.
- BYU holds an undefeated 11-0 record against Utah Valley, including a 3-1 victory in Orem, Utah, last season.
- The Wolverines return four starters and its libero to this year’s team after going 18-15 (11-5 WAC) last year.
BYU’s matches against Washington and UMBC will be televised live on BYUtv. The Saturday nightcap match against Utah Valley will be streamed live on TheW.tv. Links to live stats for all of the tournament’s matches can be found on the BYU women’s volleyball schedule page.