Smith Fieldhouse Provo UT 84606
BYU Comeback in Fifth Set to Secure Win
PROVO -- In the third game of the BYU Nike Invitational, the BYU Cougars defeated the Idaho State Bengals in five sets (26-24,25-22,26-24,25-20,17-15) Saturday morning. Just when it looked like Idaho State might run away with the victory the Cougars came back to snatch the victory from the jaws of defeat.
“I’m thrilled that we pulled it out,” BYU head coach Shay Goulding said following the match. “I’m proud that the girls had their backs against the wall and they pulled it out.”
The morning began well for the Cougars with a spike by Christie Carpenter. From then on the set was very back and forth with thirteen ties early on. Neither team showed any sign of being able to pull away until the Bengals scored three straight points to take a 18-16 advantage and forcing Goulding to call her first timeout. Goulding’s timeout proved effective as BYU was once again able to tie the score at 18. The Cougars were then able to take a 22-19 lead which led Idaho State head coach Chad Teichert to call a timeout of his own.
The Bengals were able to tie the set at 24 but BYU went on to win the set 26-24. Carpenter led the Cougars with six kills in the set followed by the balanced attack of Nicole Warner, Kathryn LeCheminant and Taeja Afalava who each finished the set with three kills.
Carpenter started the second set with another highlight but this time Carpenter made a solo block to give BYU a 1-0 lead. That lead would soon be extended as the Cougars took a 6-0 lead initially. Idaho State would eventually fight back to come within one, 10-9. BYU hung onto their lead for the majority of the set but the Bengals tied the score at 20-20. However, the Cougar’s showed their mental toughness by finishing the set 25-22. A kill by Carpenter gave BYU their final point.
The third set did not begin as well for the Cougars as the first two sets as Idaho State took a 2-0 lead. BYU would battle back to take a 5-3 lead over the Bengals. Still, Idaho State would not go down without a fight tying the score at 7-7 and again at 8-8 before scoring two straight points to take a 10-8 lead over the Cougars. A kill by Warner followed by a kill by Snow would tie the score at 12-12. A 5-0 run highlighted by a Kiana Rogers ace would give BYU a 15-12 lead. The Bengals battled back to tie the score again at 17-17 and again at 18, 19, 21 and 22 before taking a 23-22 lead. Idaho State would go on to win the set 26-24.
Early on it was evident that the Bengals were hungry for victory as they took an 15-9 lead over the Cougars. Two kills and three blocks (one solo, two assisted) by LeCheminant seemed to reenergize the team in addition to bringing them within two of Idaho State, 18-16. Still, BYU was unable to stop the Bengals who would go on to win the set 25-20.
The final set began with a Carpenter kill but it was soon all Idaho State as the Bengals took a 6-3 lead and forced Goulding to use another timeout. The timeout struggled to stop the momentum that was in Idaho State’s favor and the Bengals extended their lead to five. The Cougars could not be defeated easily battling back to come within one, 14-13 after two attack errors by Idaho State. A kill by Afalava would tie the set at 14-14. A serve error would give the Bengals a one-point advantage but a strong kill by Warner would tie the score once again at 15-15. An attack error by Idaho State followed by a Snow kill would seal the deal as the Cougars were victorious 17-15.
Carpenter finished the match with a season high 18 kills. Carpenter also had her second double-double of the season. Warner finished with a career high and season high 13 kills. LeCheminant had a career and season high kills and blocks with eight kills and six blocks. Rogers also had her third double-double of the season as well as a career and season high 22 digs.
BYU will play Cal Poly at 7:30 p.m. Saturday in the Smith Fieldhouse to conclude the invitational.
Nebraska Remains Undefeated in Tournament
PROVO -- No. 7 Nebraska earned the first sweep of the BYU Nike Invitational Saturday over Cal Poly 3-0 (25-15, 25-18, 25-17).
Hannah Werth of the Huskers was the match leader with 12 kills, while Jennifer Keddy of Cal Poly finished with 10. Kayla Banwarth sustained the back row with 13 digs, Tara Mueller adding 12.
The Huskers got out to a 12-7 lead early in the first set, maintaining the lead throughout the rest of the set, winning 25-15. Werth single-handedly took out the Mustangs, posting five kills on a .455 clip, also tallying four digs. Banwarth holding up the back row with six digs.
The second set started out more contested than the first, knotting the score 10 times before the Huskers pulled away with 4-straight points at 17-13. The Mustangs battled back, but it wasn’t enough to pull away with a win, Nebraska took set two 25-18. Lindsey Licht led the Huskers in set two with four kills while Banwarth had five digs. Cal Poly’s Keddy tallied four kills on .667 hitting.
To finish off the match, Nebraska got out to a 10-1 lead, Cal Poly only coming within six points. The Huskers finished off the third set 25-17 with a kill from Werth.
Home Opener Hosts No. 7 Nebraska
PROVO -- Excited to begin the season at home, the BYU women’s volleyball team (1-2) will host the annual Nike Invitational Friday and Saturday, attracting No. 7 Nebraska (2-1), Idaho State (3-0) and Cal Poly (2-1) for a six-match tournament.
“Our focus this week is still on us,” BYU head coach Shay Goulding said. “We need to be great on our side of the net. We are working on competing hard and eliminating errors. I really believe the match will still come down to serving and passing.”
The Cougars are coming off a third-place finish at the State Farm Illini Classic hosted by the University of Illinois, falling to No. 6 Illinois and Middle Tennessee, and coming back to beat South Carolina. Senior middle blocker Christina Measom was named to the All-Tournament Team after leading the squad with 15 kills against South Carolina and 12 against Middle Tennessee.
“We learned a great deal about ourselves last weekend,” said Goulding. “As a result, we will be working hard on different elements of our game this week, but ultimately I was pleased that we showed some real tenacity and fight. The girls pulled out an impressive win against South Carolina. A key factor for us will be finishing matches as strong as we begin them.”
Nebraska leads the series with BYU 6-2, with BYU losing the last meeting on Sept. 11, 2009 in Lincoln, hushing the sold-out crowd in the first set, and dropping the next three to the Huskers. Nebraska finished with a No. 5 final ranking in 2009 and started out the season ranked No. 2.
“We are thrilled to bring No. 7 Nebraska to our home court. They are a fantastic volleyball program with rich tradition,” said Goulding. “We competed very well against them last year on their court so it will be fun to have them in the Smith Fieldhouse.”
BYU leads Idaho State in a 23-1 overall record, with the last Cougar win coming in 2005 (3-0). The Bengals boast a perfect 3-0 record this season with wins over Texas-Pan American, Oral Roberts and Lamar.
In the all-time series between Cal Poly and BYU, the Cougars lead 10-5. The Mustangs came to Provo for last year’s Nike Classic Tournament where BYU slid by 3-2. Cal Poly has recorded wins over Arizona and Marshall this season before falling to Notre Dame last weekend.
“Idaho State and Cal Poly both bring a great deal to the quality of this preseason tournament,” said Goulding. “Both just came off of successful opening weekends. I believe both teams have improved tremendously since last year and will be ready to compete. It is fun bringing in Idaho State and Cal Poly because each of the coaching staffs have some history with BYU; I know they love to come here and we love to have them. It is going to be a great weekend of volleyball.”
Preseason tournaments hosted by BYU have been a tradition since 1977. With the exception of two years (1993 and 1999), the Cougars have hosted at least one tournament each year. It is one of college volleyball’s longest running traditions, and although the name of the marquee tournament has evolved over the years from the BYU Preview to the BYU Invitational to the BYU Mizuno Classic to the current BYU Nike Invitational, the premise has always been the same – to gather top teams from around the country for intense competition.
Although the premise of staging the 1977 BYU Preview was for modest short-term gain, BYU has now hosted 36 tournaments in 30 years, winning 20 titles along the way. An excerpt directly from the 1984 BYU Preview program explains the simple beginnings:
“BYU coach Elaine Michaelis conducted her first volleyball invitational in 1977 to give her team, visiting teams and local fans a chance to preview some of the schools expected to play in the AIAW national championships that BYU was to host later that season. Her idea was that preseason competition among gifted teams would allow coaches and players to identify their flaws, exhibit their strengths and measure themselves against others as they began the march toward nationals. The response was so enthusiastic that her idea turned into a tradition.”
There have been many Cougar highlights, but one of the top moments in BYU tournament history was when BYU upended No. 1 Stanford before defeating No. 2 Long Beach State to take the 2000 tournament title. The Cougars also defeated No. 4 Stanford on the way to winning the 2006 crown and No. 10 Wisconsin while taking the 2007 title.
The Cougars look to have another upset as they host No. 7 Nebraska in the first match of the tournament Friday at 7 p.m. in the Smith Fieldhouse.