Balanced Effort Leads to Victory
PROVO -- Four Cougars recorded double-digit kills Friday night as the BYU women's volleyball team defeated San Diego State in four games (30-25, 27-30, 30-21, 30-23), improving to 19-6 overall and 11-4 in the Mountain West Conference.
"Overall, I'm very pleased with the fact that we ended better than we started," said BYU head coach Jason Watson. "We were able to improve in some areas as the match progressed, which is a really good sign as we near postseason play."
Senior Erica Lott led BYU with 18 kills to go along with 11 digs and three blocks. Junior Bryn Porter tied her career high with 17 kills while Rachel Dyer posted 16 and Chelsea Goodman added 14 to round out the double-figure quartet. Goodman also had a double-double with 12 digs.
As a result of the victory, BYU will be playing for a potential share of the MWC title Saturday night against No. 25 UNLV as the Rebels lost to Utah Friday night. The Cougars could finish in a three-way tie with a win over UNLV and a Colorado State loss at New Mexico.
The Cougars started out hot, putting down five of their first six swings to take a 6-1 lead in game one. The teams trade points from there to a 10-4 BYU lead before back-to-back Aztec blocks allowed them to string consecutive points together for the first time. But the Cougars were not about to be ruffled as they pushed the lead to 17-10 with a balanced offensive attack. The advantage grew to game point at 29-20, but SDSU fought off the game-winner with five straight points, prompting Watson to call timeout. BYU got what it wanted out of the break as an Aztec hitting error gave the Cougars the 30-25 win.
After an early 4-2 BYU lead, SDSU came on strong with a 6-0 run to take its first advantage of the match at 8-4. A Cougar block ended the scoring drought, but BYU couldn't cut into the lead. Goodman brought the crowd to its feet when she slammed home an overpass to spark a 4-1 BYU run that cut the SDSU lead to 20-18, but the Aztecs responded with four straight points to take a 24-18 advantage. The Cougars scored seven of the next 10 points to get within two at 27-25, but the Aztec lead proved too large to surmount as BYU dropped the second game, 30-27.
BYU found itself playing catch up to begin game three as SDSU was able to stay just out of reach until a kill from Goodman capped a 3-0 spurt and gave the Cougars a 9-8 lead. Ashton Hansen then put down back-to-back winners for BYU, but three straight Aztec points had SDSU back in front at 12-11. However, the Cougars got into a groove, scoring six of the next seven to go up 17-13. From there, it was all BYU as the Cougars posted the 30-21 win. Game four was a strictly BYU affair as the Cougars dominated from start to finish.
BYU's five seniors will be recognized prior to the 7 p.m. start on Saturday night. The game will be broadcast live on BYUTV as well as being available via GameTracker and BYU All-Access.
BYU Set To Conclude Regular Season
Five Seniors To Be Recognized In Final Home Match On Saturday
PROVO -- After a resounding win over Utah last Friday, the BYU women's volleyball team will close out the regular season this weekend hosting San Diego State on Friday and No. 25 UNLV on Saturday. Both matches will begin at 7 p.m. and will be televised live on BYUTV.
"We've worked hard throughout the season and especially in the month of November to be playing our best when it really matters," said BYU head coach Jason Watson. "Our motto has always been to be good over time, which we have a chance to do this weekend."
The Cougars have won five straight matches, tying their longest winning streak of the year while improving to 18-6 overall and 10-4 in the Mountain West Conference. BYU has also gone 8-2 in the Smith Fieldhouse while averaging 1,807 fans per match, 17th in the nation. With the MWC Tournament set to begin next week and the NCAA Tournament on the horizon, the Cougars will be looking to finish strong and bolster their case for the NCAA Tournament selection committee.
Saturday's match will honor five seniors who will be playing in front of the home crowd for the final time. Chelsea Goodman, Jenna Judkins, Erica Lott, Catherine Parker and Annie Pinegar will be recognized prior to the match for their contributions to the BYU women's volleyball program throughout their respective careers.
After getting off to their best start since 2001 at 7-2, the Aztecs are now 12-13 overall and 4-10 in the MWC, in eighth place after losing eight of their last nine matches. Sophomore outside hitter Stephanie Darnall leads the team with 3.28 kills per game while senior libero Aime Cordeiro puts up a league-leading 6.19 digs per game, helping the Aztecs rank third in the MWC in that category. BYU defeated SDSU in five games earlier this season to earn its 1,000th program victory.
The No. 25 Rebels are 21-3 overall and 12-2 in the Mountain West Conference, tying the school record with wins in their last 10 matches. UNLV is currently in a tie for first place in the MWC with Colorado State. UNLV's duo of senior middle blocker Lauren Miramontes and junior outside hitter Maria Aladjova go 1-2 for the Rebels and 3-4 in the MWC averaging 4.52 and 4.46 kills per game, respectively. UNLV swept BYU earlier this season.
In addition to coverage on BYUTV, both matches will be available on BYU All-Access and GameTracker. Links for both can be found by going to the schedule page of the BYU women's volleyball homepage at http://www.byucougars.com/volleyball_w/.