Smith Fieldhouse Provo UT 84606
BYU Finishes In Victory
PROVO -- The BYU women’s volleyball team said goodbye to its two seniors in style Saturday as Rachel Dyer and Bryn Porter helped lead the Cougars to victory over Wyoming (25-19, 25-20, 25-16). With a win over No. 15 Colorado State on Thursday and the sweep of the Cowgirls, BYU finishes the 2008 season with a 14-12 overall record and 7-9 Mountain West Conference mark.
“Not many teams get to finish the year with a win so I’m really proud that we got to do that,” said BYU head coach Shay Goulding. “We executed the game plan really well tonight.”
Fittingly, Dyer ended her BYU career tying for the team lead in kills with 10 while hitting .500 for the match and also tying for team-high honors with five blocks. Porter was right behind with seven kills on .316 hitting while picking up seven digs. Junior Kayla Walker posted her seventh double-double of the year with 10 kills and 12 digs to lead BYU. Sophomore Christina Measom tallied a career-high five rejections. BYU hit a solid .356 on the night while holding Wyoming to just .115 hitting.
“We definitely ended better than we started, which is something I’ve always tried to do,” said Dyer. “It’s sad to leave behind a chapter of my life, but I’m really grateful for the experiences I’ve had here.”
“I’m proud to have been a part of the tradition of volleyball here at BYU,” said Porter. “I’m grateful for the opportunities that have been given to me.”
The Cougars scored the first point of the match on a kill from Measom and kept pushing to a 7-2 lead. However, a 6-0 Wyoming run turned the set around in the early going. Porter finally got the sideout with a winner down the line to knot the score at 8-8, but the Cowgirls proved resilient with a 5-1 spurt to go up 13-10 as the Cougar hitting errors mounted. Another shot from Measom sparked three straight BYU points, and moments later, the Cougars retook the lead at 17-16 on a setter dump from Kiana Rogers that found the hardwood. From there, BYU cruised to a 25-19 win, posting five blocks in the set.
Back-to-back rejections from Dyer and Measom got the Cougars going in the second set as they ran out to a 4-0 lead. Wyoming came back to cut the deficit to two points three separate times at 8-6, 11-9 and 13-11, but BYU responded on each occasion to maintain the lead. Measom’s incredible play continued, giving Cougar fans a glimpse of what to expect next season from the sophomore, as she put down a cross-court winner to spark a 5-0 BYU run. The momentum stayed with the Cougars to a 25-20 victory as they hit .371 in the frame.
Wyoming struck first in set three, but Walker hit a bomb down the line on the next point to set the tone for the frame. Three hitting errors in the first six points doomed the Cowgirls. Despite continued pressure from a Wyoming team with its back against the wall, the Cougars had the answer to every Cowgirl push. BYU led by as many as nine points and hit .517 in the set while recording a 25-16 win.
“I’m really excited for next season,” said Goulding. “I feel a sense of urgency to get on it and make some plans for next year. We’re going to have an extremely talented team, and we’re excited to tie into the legacy these two seniors are leaving.”
Set To Conclude the 2008 Season
PROVO -- The BYU women’s volleyball team will say farewell to the 2008 season this week as the Cougars compete in the final two matches of the year. BYU (12-12, 5-9 MWC) will host No. 15 Colorado State Thursday at 7 p.m. before taking on Wyoming Saturday at 7 p.m. in the Smith Fieldhouse. Thursday’s match will be televised live on The Mtn. while Saturday’s contest will feature Senior Night festivities honoring the two outgoing Cougars – Rachel Dyer and Bryn Porter.
“The team is definitely peaking right now and playing some great volleyball,” said BYU head coach Shay Goulding. “We are looking forward to going the distance and finishing strong at home this week against Colorado State and Wyoming. Without a doubt, fans will get some great volleyball action in these two exciting matches.”
The Cougars are indeed peaking since making a line-up change on Oct. 17. BYU is coming off a five-set loss Friday night at No. 23 Utah that saw the Cougars take a 2-1 set lead before the home team was able to pull out the win. Junior Kayla Walker had been particularly impressive down the stretch. Prior to the change, Walker was second on the team with 2.72 kills per set, eighth hitting .207, fifth with 1.95 digs per set and fourth with 0.77 blocks per set. In the eight matches since the switch, she has improved her numbers in every category. She now leads BYU and ranks seventh in the MWC with 3.59 kps, is third on the team hitting .257, ranks second for the Cougars with 2.34 dps and is tied for the team lead with 1.17 bps. She has posted three double-doubles in that time and became the first Cougar to top the 20-kill mark this year with 21 at UNLV before posting 20 at Utah.
In addition to the excitement and emotion of taking on No. 15 Colorado State on Thursday, Saturday’s match will be the final contest in the impressive careers of Dyer and Porter.
A 6-foot-1 middle blocker, Dyer has left her mark on the Cougar program. She is a two-time All-Mountain West Conference honoree, a two-time AVCA West All-Region recipient and earned 2007 AVCA All-America honorable mention. The Encinitas, Calif. native posted the fourth-best hitting percentage in BYU history last season with a .411 mark, which also ranked 11th nationally. She has annually ranked among the league leaders in hitting percentage and blocks and has been a powerful presence in the middle throughout her career.
A 5-foot-10 outside hitter, Porter has been a solid performer for the Cougars, especially over the past two seasons. Playing alongside Chelsea Goodman last season, Porter averaged 2.79 kills per set and posted double-digit kills in 19 matches. As one of the Cougars’ go-to girls this year, Porter is among the team leaders in kills and is second for BYU in double-doubles. A team captain and two-time Academic All-MWC honoree, Porter has been named to three all-tournament teams in her career, earning BYU Molten Classic MVP honors this year.
Both the Rams and the Cowgirls will be looking to spoil the fun of the Cougars’ final weekend of play. Colorado State is 22-3 so far in 2008 and ranked No. 15 nationally. The Rams’ 12-2 MWC mark is tied for first with Utah. Two Rams pace the CSU offense as reigning MWC Player of the Year Mekana Barnes, a senior middle blocker, tallies a team-best 3.40 kps while senior outside hitter Jaime Strauss is right behind with 3.20 kills per set. Barnes is also hitting .369 on the year to rank second in the conference and notches a league-leading 1.48 blocks per set, which is fifth nationally. The Rams swept BYU earlier this season in Fort Collins, Colo., but BYU owns a 47-22-1 all-time series lead.
The Wyoming Cowgirls are 5-18 overall this season and 4-10 in league play. Sophomore rightside hitter Dani Bedore leads the team and ranks fifth in the league with 3.02 kills per set after transferring from South Carolina. Bedore’s 0.55 blocks per set is third for Wyoming. Two other Cowgirls – Lauren Whitney (2.93) and Jenna Arneson (2.32) top two kps to balance out the Wyoming offense. The Cougars swept the Cowgirls earlier this year to open MWC play and own a 62-4 all-time series lead.
In addition to live coverage of the CSU match on The Mtn., live stats for both matches will be available on GameTracker. A link to GameTracker can be found by going to the schedule page of the BYU women’s volleyball homepage at http://www.byucougars.com/volleyball_w/.