Cougars Celebrate Halloween With Victory
PROVO -- With a festive Halloween crowd cheering them on, the BYU women’s volleyball team took care of business Friday night in the Smith Fieldhouse with a four-set win (23-25, 25-12, 25-19, 25-20) over TCU. The Cougars (11-9, 4-6 MWC) were impressive on both offense and defense in avenging an earlier loss to the Horned Frogs (17-7, 6-5 MWC).
“Everything in volleyball has a ripple effect, and tonight really showed why for us,” said BYU head coach Shay Goulding. “Our passing was excellent, which helped our setter find her attackers and our attackers be more productive. Our confidence was really high, and everything just worked for us.”
Junior Kayla Walker led the way for BYU with 16 kills followed Ashton Hansen Hosford with a season-high 13 and Rachel Dyer with 10. Hosford also paced BYU with five blocks while posting a season-best .632 hitting percentage. Walker also added 11 digs for her fourth double-double of the year while setter Kiana Rogers tallied 49 assists and 12 digs for her seventh double-double of the season. Bryn Porter also contributed double-digit digs with 11 while Melissa Lake recorded a match-high 17.
After TCU’s opening serve went long, the Horned Frogs went up 4-1 early in set one. The Cougars tied the score at 4-4 and then kept it close, but TCU managed to stay just ahead until a service ace from Rogers followed by a kill from Porter gave BYU its first lead of the set at 11-10. The two teams traded points from there as the set neared its conclusion and both squads fought for every score. TCU finally got the upperhand with a 22-20 lead and extended the advantage to 24-21. BYU scored two points out of a Cougar timeout but could not complete the comeback as the Horned Frogs’ Lauren Otto put down the set-winner at 25-23.
The momentum shifted noticeably to begin set two as BYU ran out to a 5-1 lead early with four kills on four swings and a triple block. With the energy picking up among the fans and the team, the Fieldhouse truly became a homecourt advantage with a 12-4 BYU lead. The advantage grew to as many as 13 points for the Cougars as they dominated with a 25-12 win. BYU held TCU to -.034 hitting in the set while a balanced Cougar attack produced a .379 BYU hitting efficiency.
Set three proved to be a return to the battle begun in set one as the two teams fought to an 8-8 tie. Redshirt freshman Casey Speredon immediately made an impact upon entering the match at that point, putting down back-to-back kills to put BYU up 10-8. Despite pressure from the Horned Frogs, the Cougars managed to stay in front with solid play both offensively and defensively. Trailing 18-14, TCU got back-to-back points out of a timeout, but Dyer kept BYU in control with a strong kill down the middle. The two-point deficit was as close as the Horned Frogs got as the Cougars closed out the set, 25-19.
Sensing victory, BYU ran out to a 6-3 lead in the fourth set. TCU responded to get within one point, but a Cougar surge helped by kills from Speredon and Walker established a 12-7 BYU advantage. But the Horned Frogs had some firepower of their own left in the tank as they knotted the score at 16-16. Kills from sophomore Christina Measom and Walker made sure BYU did not fall behind and enabled the Cougars to push through for the 25-20 win, scoring eight of the last 11 points.
The Cougars will be back in action Saturday night hosting New Mexico at 7 p.m. in the Smith Fieldhouse. The match can also be seen live on BYUTV.
Chance For Redemption Coming for BYU
PROVO -- A pair of revenge matches highlight the BYU women’s volleyball schedule this week as the Cougars will get a chance to avenge earlier losses to TCU and New Mexico in the Smith Fieldhouse. BYU (10-9, 3-6 MWC) will take on the Horned Frogs Friday night before facing the Lobos on Saturday. Both matches will begin at 7 p.m. and be shown worldwide on BYUTV.
“We see this weekend at home as an opportunity to get back on track and to make a difference in the second half of conference play,” said BYU head coach Shay Goulding. “We know we have what it takes to finish strong and make an impact.”
The Cougars definitely improved last week with their first win since Sept. 27 coming in a sweep at Air Force. BYU then lost in three sets at No. 3 Texas as the Longhorns proved worthy of their ranking. Junior Kayla Walker led the Cougars with 2.83 kills per set on the week while also adding 1.67 digs and 1.33 blocks per set. She paced BYU with 10 kills and six blocks at Air Force. Sophomore libero Melissa Lake tied her career high with 18 digs against the Falcons. Despite losing their last three matches at home, the Cougars have typically played well in the Smith Fieldhouse, winning their first four matches on Elaine Michaelis Court this season and going 33-4 at home over the three prior years.
The TCU Horned Frogs are 17-6 overall and 6-4 in MWC play this season after reeling off 10 straight wins to begin the year. Junior outside hitter Lauren Otto leads the team and is tied for fifth in the MWC with 3.13 kills per set while contributing 2.55 digs per set. Sophomore rightside hitter Christy Hudson is hitting .333 on the year to rank fifth in the league followed closely by senior middle blocker Devon Kirk at .326, sixth in the MWC. The Horned Frog block is led by junior middle blocker Kourtney Edwards, who is tied for sixth in the conference with 1.19 bps. Junior Katelyn Blackwood is third in the MWC at 3.94 dps. As a team, TCU paces the league with 1.45 service aces per set. BYU is 11-1 against the Horned Frogs after losing at TCU on Oct. 4.
The New Mexico Lobos are 17-4 so far this season and 7-3 in the MWC after winning their first eight matches of the year. Two of the Lobos’ losses came against ranked teams in No. 2 Nebraska and No. 13 Colorado State. Senior outside hitter Jeanne Fairchild leads the team and the MWC in kills with 4.82 per set and points at 5.20. Senior libero Gayle Tripp is second in the conference with 4.65 digs per set while sophomore setter Jade Michaelson ranks second in the MWC at 10.89 assists per set. Junior middle blocker Anna Lehne leads the team in blocks (1.41), which both rank third in the league. As a team, UNM paces the MWC in opponent hitting percentage (.137). BYU leads the all-time series 62-9 including a loss at New Mexico on Oct. 2.
In addition to live coverage on BYU-TV, both matches will also be available on BYU All-Access and GameTracker. Links to these options can be found by going to the schedule page of the BYU women’s volleyball homepage at http://www.byucougars.com/Schedule.jsp?SP=202.