McKale Memorial Center
1 National Championship Drive Tucson AZ 85721
TUCSON, Ariz. – Jennifer Hamson led No. 12 BYU women's volleyball to a three-set (25-16, 25-18, 25-17) sweep against Seton Hall in the first round of the NCAA tournament Thursday at Arizona.
"I'm just really excited for these kids," BYU head coach Shawn Olmstead said. "They did exactly what was asked of them coming into this match. They were very well prepared. Hats off to Seton Hall for an outstanding season. They've got a great group of kids over there that can battle. We had some players who came in and did their things. I liked the team effort. We were good at what we've been good at all this year."
Hamson led the Cougars with 10 kills to go along with six blocks and eight digs. Ciara Parker contributed a team-high 18 digs while Camry Godfrey Willardson added 34 assists. Whitney Young had a team-high seven blocks in the win. Alexa Gray also had double-digit kills with 10.
BYU (26-4, 16-2 West Coast Conference) got things started in the first set against Seton Hall (28-8, 15-3 Big East) with a Gray kill. Four-straight blocks from Young (with help in three from Hamson) increased BYU's lead to six at 7-1, forcing a Pirate timeout. The Cougars were up by as many as nine at 12-3 before Seton Hall went on a 7-1 run to bring it within three at 13-10. BYU maintained its lead, however, going on a 5-1 run of its own to extend its lead back to seven at 18-11. The two teams traded points to end the set with the Cougars ultimately prevailing 25-16.
A pair of Gray kills helped BYU take a 6-2 advantage to start the second set. The Pirates never gave up, following with a 5-1 rally to tie the score at 7-7. Scores were traded back and forth from that point until a Young kill gave the Cougars a four-point edge at 15-11. A Parker service ace kept BYU ahead at 19-14, forcing Seton Hall to use its first timeout of the set. The Cougars kept things going to finish the set, winning 25-18 on another Gray kill.
Young contributed a pair of kills to lead her team to a 3-1 start in the third set. BYU maintained its lead at 9-4 following an Amy Boswell and Hamson block. The Cougars found themselves up by as many as eight at 14-6 following a Seton Hall service error, but the Pirates then went on a 4-1 run to bring them back within six at 14-8. The teams traded points from then until Seton Hall scored five straight to bring it within four at 17-13, forcing Olmstead to call his first timeout of the match. BYU found its offense following the break, eventually coming out with the set and match, 25-17, following a Cosy Burnett and Boswell block.
The win marks the third time in as many seasons that the Cougars have advanced past the first round of the NCAA tournament. BYU has advanced to the regional semifinals in each of the past two seasons.
The Cougars return to McKale Memorial Center tomorrow at 5:30 p.m. MST to face the winner of 11th-seed Arizona and Yale. Links to live stats and a video stream 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 will participate in the 2014 NCAA Tournament, heading to Arizona to face off against Seton Hall Thursday.
"This is about what I expected," BYU head coach Shawn Olmstead said. "Once I saw a few things shake out I assumed that we would be heading to UCLA or Arizona. We're excited about it. The girls are excited and ready to go."
The Cougars (25-4, 16-2 West Coast Conference) will play against the Pirates in the first round and the winner will compete against the winner of the match between No. 11 seed Arizona and Yale. BYU and Seton Hall will play Thursday at 4 p.m. MST with Arizona and Yale playing Thursday at 6:30 p.m. MST. The winners will play Friday at 5:30 p.m. MST in the second round.
BYU, Seton Hall, Arizona and Yale are part of the Seattle Region. Saturday's winner will advance to the regional semifinals on Dec. 12 at Washington.
The last time the Cougars played in the NCAA tournament was in 2013, when they made it to the regional semifinals against No. 6 USC. BYU has made it to the regional semifinals in each of the past two seasons.
First and second round opponents
Seton Hall is 28-7 on the season and 15-3 in the Big East Conference. The Pirates finished second in the Big East, behind automatic-qualifier Creighton.
Arizona ended the regular season 23-9 overall and 12-8 in Pac-12 play. In the Wildcats’ last match, they swept in-state rival Arizona State on the road. They finished third in their league.
Yale is 18-7 overall and 12-2 in the Ivy League after knocking off Harvard to end its regular season. They finished first in their conference and received the automatic bid.
Four teams from the WCC earned spots in the NCAA tournament. BYU received the automatic bid and Loyola Marymount, San Diego and Santa Clara earned at-large bids.
Six of BYU’s opponents this season made it into the NCAA tournament. Besides conference opponents, Washington, Colorado State and Utah have all earned spots in the tournament. BYU is 5-4 against teams that will play in the tournament this year.
All-session tickets are now available on the University of Arizona ticket page. Adult tickets $16 and youth/student tickets are $10. Single-session tickets will go on sale Tuesday. All seats are general admission. The Arizona ticket office opens tomorrow at 9 a.m. MST.
Visit the Tournament Central page for more info.