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Blue Raiders Pull Out Win in Four
CHAMPAGNE -- In the second game of the Illini Classic, the BYU women’s volleyball team (0-2) fell to Middle Tennessee (2-0) after a hard-fought battle in four (25-20, 22-25, 14-25, 24-26).
“We started strong and played well against a very good Middle Tennessee team,” BYU head coach Shay Goulding. “This is our first weekend with a very young team and with each game we are getting more experience and growing in maturity.”
Christina Measom and Christie Carpenter both had 12 kills each, with Measom hitting at .304. Rogers distributed the ball well with 40 assists and also tallied nine digs. Carpenter had her first double-double of the season with 12 digs and 12 kills.
“Stephanie Snow was really good today for us,” said Goulding. “Her experience playing in the PAC-10 helps her to maintain her composure and play well consistently.”
With the score tied nine times in the first set, the Cougars eventually pulled away after Snow tallied two service aces and led at 17-15. Subsequent kills from Warner (2) and Carpenter (2), along with MT attack errors, the Cougars started the match on top winning the first 25-20.
Junior Brooke Soon anchored the back row at libero for the next three sets, helping the Cougars to pass more efficiently. “Brooke came in and brought a lot of maturity to the back row,” said Goulding.
The Blue Raiders gently chipped away at the score, posting a 4-0 run late in the second set. BYU calling a timeout at 16-21 helped the team earn a 5-1 run, but it was too late with MT winning its first set 25-22.
With four 3-0-stint runs by the Blue Raiders, the third set got away from the Cougars, falling 25-14.
A 3-0 start by the Blue Raiders had the Cougars playing catch-up most of the fourth set, finally gaining the lead at 19-18 thanks to four kills by Snow, and two kills by Taeja Afalava and Carpenter. Trading points with two kills from Warner and one by Carpenter, the Cougars found themselves at game point at 24-22. Middle Tennessee then hit three-straight kills and a block to finish off the match 26-24, 3-1.
“I like how we ended, it was just too little too late,” said Goulding. “If we keep this momentum going we can turn on the heat and come home with a win tonight.”
BYU will play South Carolina at 3:30 p.m. MT Saturday in its last game of the Illini Classic. Check back to www.byucougars.com for scores and updates.
Cougars Kickoff 2010 Campaign in Illinois
PROVO -- Kicking off the 2010 women’s volleyball campaign, the Cougars will travel to the University of Illinois for the State Farm Illini Classic Aug. 27-28.
“After our blue and white match Tuesday, I feel like we are going into the tournament more educated,” BYU head coach Shay Goulding said. “Through the season we will continue to change, evolve and be better players – we are excited to get the season started at Illinois.”
The Cougars play No. 6 Illinois Friday at 6 p.m. MT in the first game of the tournament. Saturday BYU will take on Middle Tennessee at 11 a.m. MT, and South Carolina at 3:30 p.m. MT.
Senior setter Kiana Rogers will lead the Cougars in the Illini Classic. She enters her third season as a starting setter for BYU, leading the Cougars with 1,017 assists last season. Holding up the defense will be returning senior Christina Measom who ranked second in MWC play for blocks at 1.37 per game.
BYU is 34-6 all-time in season openers (no match-by-match records for 1971) and has not lost a season opener since 1999. The team leads Illinois 3-1 in the all-time series, the last meeting being in 2002 where the Fighting Illini swept the Cougars 3-0.
The Cougars played Middle Tennessee last in December of 2007, sweeping the Blue Raiders 3-0. It is the only match in which the teams have faced each other. In the final game, BYU will face South Carolina in the first meeting.
Live stats will be available for all three matches; visit the Illinois women’s volleyball schedule page. Click HERE to access these links.
After these three matches, the Cougars will host back-to-back tournaments in the Smith Fieldhouse featuring No. 2 Nebraska at 7 p.m. on Friday Sept. 3. Come cheer on your Cougars as they open the season at home.