Cougars Drop One to No. 7 Nebraska
PROVO -- Despite a fast start by Shay Goulding’s motivated Cougars, BYU was unable to hold off No. 7 Nebraska’s talented squad as it fell 1-3 (25-21, 18-25, 17-25, 15-25) in the opening match for both teams in the BYU Nike Invitational.
“We have what it takes to be really good,” Goulding said. “We showed a lot of grit, and there is no reason why we cannot carry that on for an entire match.”
Junior Christie Carpenter led the Cougars with a season high 13 kills, a number that tied the match high. Redshirt freshman Kathyrn LeCheminant performed well for BYU in her collegiate debut, with two kills and three blocks, and senior Kiana Rogers led the match with 34 assists.
For Nebraska, Kayla Banwarth led the match with 20 digs and Morgan Broekhuis finished with 13 kills.
Both teams worked to set the tone in set one, with neither team pulling ahead by more than four points. The Cougars took off early, taking a 10-6 lead behind the stellar play of senior Stephanie Snow, who finished with a set-high five kills.
BYU maintained the lead at 15-11, when Nebraska came charging back. A balanced attack for the Huskers helped them tie the game at 15-15, but the Cougars never allowed their Big XII opponent take hold of the lead. After exchanging a few points, the Cougars took the lead for good at 22-21, and went on to take the set 25-21.
Nebraska followed loss in the first set with a dominating effort in the second. Both teams battled back and forth early before the Huskers 7-6, and refused to relinquish the lead. Eventually pulling ahead by eight at 21-13, Nebraska successfully put the game away. Broekhuis led the Huskers with four kills, while Rogers led BYU with nine assists and one kill as the Cougars fell 18-25.
The stellar play of the Huskers continued into the third set as they again took a lead early and never looked back. BYU finished with 11 kills in the set, five short of Nebraska’s total of 16. Again the Cougars fell short, this time by a score of 17-25.
Along with the defeat, BYU also suffered the loss of senior Christina Measom, who went down with an injury early in the third.
Looking to put the match away, Nebraska came out strong, pulling ahead 7-1 early in the fourth set. BYU responded with consecutive scores to get within four points at 8-4, but never fully recovered from the early deficit, falling for the third-straight set to the powerhouse from the Midwest by 10 points, 15-25.
Top performances in the final set came from BYU’s Rogers with five assists and one kill and Nebraska’s Tara Mueller with two kills and five digs.
“We have a lot of young faces out there,” Goulding said. “Building the endurance that we need is key to improving our team. (Nebraska) is a seasoned team. They did not make mistakes, so it's important to measure where we are currently, in order to can get back to the drawing board.”
The loss puts the Cougars record at 1-3 for the season, with the lone victory against South Carolina and the three losses coming at the hands of Illinois, Middle Tennessee and Nebraska.
BYU takes the floor again tomorrow, facing off with the Bengals of Idaho State in the Cougar’s second game of the Nike Invitational. The game begins at 10:00 a.m. MST and will be played in the George Albert Smith Fieldhouse.
Idaho State Defeats Cal Poly To Open Nike Invite
PROVO -- The first game of the BYU Nike Invitational featured the Idaho State Bengals (4-0) defeating the Cal Poly Mustangs (2-2) Friday evening, 3-1 (28-26, 23-25, 25-22, 25-23).
Both teams had three players in double-digit kills. For the Bengals, Jennika Wright, Jaclyn Hone and Sarah Carson all tallied 12 kills each while Jenna Proost added 16 digs. Setter Lori Mendenhall chalked up 49 assists while Hone had 13 digs to complete a double-double. Carson also had three service aces in the match.
Cal Poly was led by Dominique Olowolafe, Katie Smith and Jennifer Keddy, each tallying 11 kills for the Mustangs. Olowolafe hit at a .556 clip while setter Sarah Cawrse assisted 44-of-48. Three mustangs achieved double-digit digs with Alison Mort leading the team with 13, Cawrse added 12 and Kristina Graven finished with 10.
The first set started with Cal Poly pushing for the lead with Olowolafe of Cal Poly hitting at .571, contributing four kills. After back-and-fourth rallies starting at point 23, Cal Poly took the win at 28-26.
The next set started similarly with Cal Poly taking the lead right off the bat. The Mustangs had a 4-0 run with kills from Smith and Keddy. Cal Poly was able to keep the lead until the Bengals had a run of their own, knotting the score at 18. Both teams played competitively tying the score at again 20, 21 and 22 until Idaho made the comeback official with the win at 25-23.
The third set had a change of pace with Idaho State starting off with the lead and keeping it through the end with a final score of 25-22.
The Bengals brought their momentum from the last two wins into the fourth set starting strong and continuing their lead throughout the set. They sealed the victory with a 25-23, 3-1 win over Cal Poly.
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.