PROVO, Utah (Aug. 26, 2011) – The BYU women’s volleyball team opened the BYU Nike Invitational Friday against No. 8 Illinois. The team played strong to start the match, but fell 3-0 (28-26, 25-22, 25-16) to the Fighting Illini in the Smith Fieldhouse.
“Overall, we're pleased with their effort,” said BYU head coach Shawn Olmstead. “Now we're able to see where we're at and where we need to go. I’m glad we can compare ourselves to a great team like that. We're not doing well enough to compete with those guys quite yet. I was pleased with the girls’ effort and staying in the match for the most part. It got away from us a little in the third match but I was pleased overall.”
Sophomore opposite hitter Jennifer Hamson led all players with a career-high 17 kills and added three blocks and four digs.
With her dominant play, Olmstead said it was critical to keep Hamson in the game.
“Ideally we want her to stay healthy,” Olmstead stated. “That’s a lot of swings for one kid to take to keep us afloat and that’s what she did. Our expectations are she continues to play the way she did, but we have the ability to get better numbers from other hitters as well.”
Junior setter Heather Hanneman showed her defensive prowess leading all players with 15 digs and 27 assists. She was followed by junior libero Kendalyn Hartsock with nine digs and sophomore outside hitter Jessica Jardine with six. Jardine also had the second-most kills for BYU with six.
Despite a young starting lineup, the Cougars jumped out to a quick 3-0 lead and retained it through most of the set with only three lead changes. The score was tied 12 times as the set wore on, but the Fighting Illini slipped past to take the game 28-26. Hamson led all players with eight kills in the first set.
In the second set, BYU again was the first to score. In similar fashion, the score was tied seven times before Illinois pulled ahead 25-22. Michelle Bartsch of Illinois had five kills in the set.
Led by Bartsch, Illinois came out strong in the third set, punching out a 6-0 run to take the score to 19-9. BYU was unable to recover, ending the match at 25-16.
“Our ball control just broke down,” Olmstead said. “We got tentative. We weren't getting aced. They only aced us twice. We just started to be hesitant.”
The Cougars take on UC Santa Barbara Saturday at 10 a.m. in the Fieldhouse in their second match of the BYU Nike Invitational.
UCSB Comes Back From Two Sets Down to Defeat St. Mary's
UC Santa Barbara stunned St. Mary’s in the BYU Nike Invitational, coming back from two sets down to claim a 21-25, 22-25, 25-20, 25-23, 15-12 win in Friday’s second game.
UCSB was led by the tandem of Stacey Schmidt and Leah Sully who recorded 18 and 16 kills, respectively. Sully also added 18 digs while Hanna Nielson led all players with 45 assists.
With each team claiming two games apiece, St. Mary’s bounced back to take a 6-3 lead. But the Gauchos came back again just as they had all night, taking the lead for the first time in the set, 10-9, after a Gael attack error.
UCSB scored three of the match’s last four points, including a service ace by Kara Sherrard and a match-winning kill by Schmidt for the season-opening win.
Lauren Corp had 16 kills and 14 digs for St. Mary’s. Sarah Reams had a team-high 23 digs while Missy White led the Gaels with 39 assists.
St. Mary’s reeled off wins in games one and two without much trouble, as Crop nine kills in both games combined.
Women's Volleyball Opens Season
PROVO, Utah (Aug. 22, 2011)—After a Tuesday Blue and White Match, the BYU women’s volleyball team launches the 2011 season hosting the BYU Nike Invitational Friday and Saturday in the Smith Fieldhouse.
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The Cougars welcome No. 8 Illinois, UC Santa Barbara and league-opponent Saint Mary’s to Provo.
“This is our first opportunity to measure progress so far,” head coach Shawn Olmstead said. “We’re going against quality opponents. Each one of those teams is a good competitor. We’re excited to host the tournament and excited for our first weekend of play.”
The tournament starts with a matchup between Illinois and BYU at 5:30 p.m. Friday, followed by a UCSB and Saint Mary’s matchup at 7:30 p.m. BYU and UCSB start off the second day of competition at 10 a.m., followed by matches between Illinois and Saint Mary’s at noon and UCSB and Illinois at 5:30 p.m.
BYU ends the tournament going head-to-head with Saint Mary’s in a preview for conference play at 8 p.m.
A qualifier for the 2010 NCAA Sweet 16, Illinois totaled 24 victories and a 14-6 conference record. The Illini bring back senior All-Americans outside hitters Colleen Ward, who led the team with 511 kills, and Michelle Bartsch, who totaled 448 kills and 104 blocks. Joining them is sophomore Jennifer Beltran who set a school season record with 623 digs in 2010.
UCSB returns AVCA All-America Honorable Mention Stacey Schmidt. Schmidt recorded 333 kills in 2010 for the Gauchos. UCSB went 16-13 in 2010 and 10-6 in conference.
Saint Mary’s went 20-8 in 2010 and ended second in the West Coast Conference with a 12-2 record. Seven letterwinners are returning for the Gaels and seven recruits will join the team. Among the Gaels’ returners are Lauren Corp, who recorded 301 kills and 288 digs last season, and Gabby Jolly, who totaled 263 kills and 106 blocks.
Prior to the match against Illinois, fans can participate in pre-game fun with the Cheer Squad, the Cougarettes and Cosmo starting at 4:30 p.m. between the Fieldhouse and the Richards Building. Admission is free to students with a student I.D. card or a freshman wristband for the Illinois match. Family passes are available for $10 (originally $15) and fans in attendance can receive a voucher for free admission to the Saturday match against Saint Mary’s. The UCSB match Saturday morning is free to all spectators.
Tuesday, the Cougars will scrimmage in the Blue and White Match at 5 p.m. in the Fieldhouse.
“The Blue and White Match is an opportunity for us to get our match routines in place,” Olmstead said. “We’ll get to see different lineups and rotations and see who plays well together on the court.”
Admission to the scrimmage is free.
* To accommodate a live TV broadcast, Saturday’s match against Saint Mary’s has been moved to 8 p.m.
** The Blue and White Match has been moved 5 p.m. Tuesday due to a BYU soccer match.