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SALT LAKE CITY — Rolling the six-match winning streak forward with a no-sweat sweep, the BYU women’s volleyball team took down UC Riverside 3-0 (25-20, 25-14, 25-16) in the opening match of the Utah Invitational Friday.
"I felt like we didn't come out with our A game right off the bat, but it's good to win a match like that when you don't feel like you're playing at your best," BYU head coach Shawn Olmstead said. "I'm glad we were able to get through that as a team and learn from it and get better. Wins are always positive things no matter what."
Opposite hitter Jennifer Hamson and outside hitter Christie Carpenter led the Cougars (7-2) to victory with eight kills each. Hamson also led in digs with 12, her third time reaching double-digit digs this season. Setter Heather Hanneman recorded 23 assists for BYU and middle blocker Nicole Warner contributed six blocks.
"I thought that Heather [Hannemann] did well staying in the match and trying to get the hitters the ball at the right time," Olmstead said. "And Jen [Hamson] really helped us from the service line in that third set to get us going."
The Cougars took an early lead to start the set, but a service ace from Highlander Katie Meyers brought the score to 4-4. The teams fought for the lead, tying five times. A Kathryn LeCheminant kill broke the pattern, putting the Cougars up 9-8 and a Highlander error increased that lead by two. BYU kept the two-point lead until back-to-back kills from UC Riverside (1-7) tied the set at 15-15. The teams picked up a back-and-forth rhythm once again until consecutive Cougar kills broke BYU out with a score of 20-18. Warner finished off the 25-20 set with a kill to put BYU ahead 1-0.
LeCheminant led the Cougars in the first set with three kills on .750 hitting. Hamson led in blocks with two and digs with three. Hartsock also had three digs.
A 6-1 Cougar scoring streak opened the second set. BYU didn’t let UC Riverside closer than three points after the run, dishing out 11 kills. Carpenter gave the Cougars a 10-point lead on a kill and an attack error by the Highlanders sealed the second game for BYU.
A block from Hannemann put the Cougars up 7-4, starting a 4-0 run to bring the score to 10-4. The Highlanders crept back on BYU errors for a 9-12 score before their own errors caught up to them and launched BYU ahead 16-9. Service aces from Warner and Carpenter and a kill by Hamson gave BYU its sixth-straight victory.
The Cougars compete against Eastern Michigan (7-1) at 10 a.m. on Saturday in the third match of the Utah Invitational and finish off the tournament facing Utah at 7 p.m. at the Utes’ Crimson Court.
BYU Seeks to Continue Win Streak
PROVO, Utah—After securing first place in the Varney’s Invitational, the BYU women’s volleyball team takes on BYU-Hawaii Wednesday before setting out for the Utah Invitational in Salt Lake City.
“This is an exciting week for us in that we have a chance to compete against four different opponents in four days,” BYU head coach Shawn Olmstead said. “Our focus will be on each individual opponent as things progress. We look forward to the challenge this presents and can’t wait to get going.”
The Cougars (5-2) will compete against UC Riverside (1-6) at 5 p.m. Friday, Eastern Michigan (6-1) at 10 a.m. Saturday and will face Utah (4-2) in the Deseret First Duel match at 7 p.m. Saturday. The match is the second Duel event of the year. BYU took a 3-0 lead with a win in women’s soccer.
BYU is ready for action and seeking to continue its four-match winning streak after defeating Kansas State for the Varney’s Invitational title. Sophomore opposite hitter Jennifer Hamson recorded 50 kills on the weekend at .306 hitting, earning her the tournament MVP selection. She and junior middle blocker Nicole Warner were named to the all-tournament team.
Starting off the week, the Cougars welcome the Seasiders to the Smith Fieldhouse at 7 p.m. Wednesday for a BYUtv-televised match. The Seasiders are 3-0 on the season, with wins against Alaska-Anchorage, Alaska-Fairbanks and Weber State. Shih Ting Chen leads the Seasiders in kills with 52 on the season and digs with 50.
UC Riverside is led in kills by Amanda Vialpando with 86 and 65 digs. Megan Patterson leads in digs with 74. The Highlanders enter the tournament on a four-match losing streak after a tough USD Invitational in San Diego over the weekend.
Six straight victories, including four sweeps, make Eastern Michigan the team to beat in the invitational after taking second in the Notre Dame Invitational and first in the IUPUI Tournament. Rachel Iaquaniello leads the Eagles with 112 kills. Last season Iaquaniello recorded the second-highest season kills in Eastern Michigan history with 515. Haley Stein leads in digs with 149 and Kristen Baker leads in blocks with 26.
The Utes claimed first place in last weekend’s Yale Invitational after defeating the host 3-1 in the final match of the tournament. Leading Utah, Morgan Odale has recorded 74 kills so far and Yale Invitational co-MVP Erin Redd has 56 with 32 blocks.
For links to BYUtv’s website and live stats, click HERE.