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The win secured the Cougars the Gold & Blue Player’s Challenge title after additionally sweeping West Virginia and Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI).
“This weekend was a great starting point for us,” BYU head coach Shawn Olmstead said. “We have a lot ahead and can see some things we need to improve upon. Overall, we fought hard and stayed in the present for each match.”
Gray and Hamson each had a team-high nine kills against the Rockets. Willardson added team highs in assists (37) and digs (8). Boswell picked up five blocks in the victory while Whitney Young and Willardson each helped with four apiece.
BYU (3-0) jumped out to a 6-1 lead to begin the match after Toledo (0-3) gave up a trio of points on attack errors. After a 7-0 run, the Cougars found themselves ahead 15-4, forcing the Rockets to take a timeout. Later, Toledo went on a 5-2 rally to cut into BYU’s lead at 22-11. The deficit proved to be too large as Gray ended the set 25-15 with a kill.
A block from Willardson and Boswell put the Cougars up by two at 5-3 to start the second set. Toledo then scored three-straight points to bring it within four at 14-10. The Rockets got within a point at 18-17 after a kill, but that was as close as they would get for the rest of the set as BYU walked away with a 25-20 set two victory.
A pair of kills from Toledo’s Saige Thomas helped her team to an early 2-1 advantage in the third set. Later in the set Gray had consecutive kills to bring BYU back in control with a 10-4 lead. A kill from Young helped solidify the Cougar advantage, bringing the score to 14-5 and causing the Rockets to call timeout. Toledo couldn’t find an answer to BYU’s offense as it took a 25-14 win in set three.
The Cougars head back to the Smith Fieldhouse next for the BYU Invitational on Friday and Saturday. BYU will play host to No. 4 Washington, University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) and Utah Valley. Links to live stats and video feeds for the tournament can be found on the BYU women’s volleyball schedule page.
PROVO, Utah – No. 9 BYU women’s volleyball begins the 2014 season by heading to West Virginia to take part in the Gold & Blue Player’s Challenge on Friday and Saturday.
Competing with the Cougars in the invitational is host West Virginia, IUPUI and Toledo.
BYU begins play on Friday at 7 p.m. EDT against tournament host West Virginia. This is the first ever match between the two schools.
In 2013, the Mountaineers went 20-13 overall and 5-11 in Big 12 conference play – good for a sixth-place finish.
West Virginia returns five starters and its libero to this year’s squad.
The Cougars will next face off against IUPUI, a 2013 NCAA tournament competitor, Saturday morning at 11:30 a.m.
The Jaguars finished the 2013 season with a 19-14 overall record, including going 11-3 in Summit League play. Following the conference tournament championship, the team earned its first ever berth to the NCAA tournament.
IUPUI returns three starters and its libero for 2014.
The two teams have never before met.
BYU concludes the Gold & Blue Player’s Challenge with a Saturday afternoon match against Toledo at 4:30 p.m.
The Rockets ended their 2013 campaign going 19-12 overall and 12-4 in MAC conference play. Toledo finished tied for first in West Division play and second overall.
Toledo returns just one starter for the 2014 season.
BYU leads the series with the Rockets 1-0 after picking up a 3-1 victory in 1999.
Links to live stats for all matches and a video stream for Friday’s West Virginia match can be found on the BYU women’s volleyball schedule page.