PROVO, Utah- A night of personal bests could not help the Cougars overcome Saint Mary's as the women’s volleyball team fell 3-0 (21-25, 22-25, 29-31) Saturday night at the Smith Fieldhouse in the Nike Invitational finale.
"I think this tournament was a great starting point for the season and it's an opportunity for us to go up against some talented teams," head coach Shawn Olmstead said.
Jennifer Hamson, Jessica Jardine and Heather Hannemann each set personal bests in kills and digs but were unable to defeat WCC foe Saint Mary’s. Hamson, who had set her career record for kills earlier in the tournament with 17, finished the night with 20. She also led the Cougars with a .370 hitting percentage. Jardine and Hannemann played phenomenal defense, finishing with 10 digs apiece, also career bests.
"I'm happy with the team's effort these last two days and we're excited for the rest of the season," Olmstead said.
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Saint Mary’s coach and BYU alumnus, Rob Browning, had his team ready to play as the Gaels started the first set off hot with an ace and continued to pour it on taking a 7-2 lead. Saint Mary’s increased its lead to nine, prompting a Cougar timeout. Out of the break the Cougars responded, cutting the lead to three before losing 21-25.
BYU took its first lead of the match at 3-2 in the second set and traded points with the Gaels until 15-all. Tied at 15, Saint Mary’s rallied off four consecutive points before Hamson hit an emphatic kill to stop the run. But her efforts were not enough as the Gaels took the second set 25-22.
Already down two sets the Cougars bore down and competed, trading points until it was 24-all. BYU fought off three match points as Hamson, Jardine and Hannemann all set their personal bests, but fell just short of a fourth set.
The Gaels were led by a balanced effort, receiving 13 kills from both Laruen Corp and Jordan Shaw. Utah native, Missy White, led the team with 42 assists and a .500 hitting percentage.
This match was a preview of conference play, as the Cougars and the Gaels will face off on Sept. 22 as West Coast Conferences foes. BYU’s next match will be Aug. 30 at 7 p.m. against Weber State at the Smith Fieldhouse.
Illinois Continues Winning Streak
PROVO, Utah (August 27, 2011) – Illinois remains undefeated after a 3-1 (19-25, 25-14, 25-19, 25-18) win over UCSB in the Saturday evening segment of the Nike Invitational.
Illinois players Coleen Ward and Michelle Bartch were able to help their team lock in the win with aggressive offensive play. Ward supplied the team with 18 kills,while Bartch added 17.
UCSB grabbed the lead early on, forcing Illinois to play catch-up through the first set. While the Illini were able to come within 6 points, they were unable to bridge the gap and UCSB handed Illinois their first set loss of the invitational.
Illinois set a change of pace in the second set as they quickly gained a leg up on UCSB and secured the overall set win. Although the UCSB Gauchos held the lead for the majority of the third set, Illinois succeeded in surpassing the Gauchos to gain the set victory.
Building off of their momentum, Illinois continued their lead over UCSB in the fourth set and secured the match win as well as an overall 3-0 record in the invite.
BYU Nike All-Tournament Team
- MVP- Michelle Bartsch Illinois
- Colleen Ward -Illinois
- Lauren Corp -St. Mary’s
- Missy White -St. Mary’s
- Jennifer Hamson- BYU
- Stacey Schmidt- UCSB
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.