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LOS ANGELES—The BYU women’s volleyball team met tough competition in its first West Coast Conference road match, recording its first five-set match of the season in the 3-2 (25-23, 19-25, 25-22, 25-27, 15-9) victory against Loyola Marymount, Thursday.
“LMU is a good team and very well-coached,” BYU head coach Shawn Olmstead said. “They put pressure on us all night, but we were able to respond in the end. When it was important, we made good plays to get in the lead in the fifth set and take the match.”
It was a night of career and season highs for BYU (13-3, 2-0), with opposite hitter Jennifer Hamson reaching 21 kills on 54 attempts. She also contributed 10 digs for her sixth double-double this season. Kathryn LeCheminant led the Cougars with career highs of 10 total blocks and four solo blocks while tying her season high of six block assists. Senior outside hitter Casey Thurston had career highs of 13 kills, four digs and tied a career high of five blocks. Heather Hannemann’s 52 assists was also a career high. Kendalyn Hartsock had 23 digs.
BYU took its first lead at 3-2 on a kill from Hamson in the first set. The Lions (8-7, 2-1) temporarily took back the lead with an Olivia Bailey kill before the Cougars broke away on a 5-0 run aided by Thurston and Nicole Warner. LeCheminant scored back-to-back points on a block and a kill to push the score to 17-15.
LMU tied the set at 18-18 and snuck ahead on a kill for a 21-20 lead before an LMU service error tied the score and the Cougars stole back the lead. A Lions attack error put away the first set for the Cougars 25-23.
BYU took the lead to start the second set, but the Lions stayed close behind. Thurston kept the Cougars from falling behind despite 11 ties. Litara Keil’s service ace gave LMU the lead, but a service error tied the set again. The Lions pushed forward from there on a 5-0 run to bring the score to 22-17. BYU couldn’t rally to fend off the Lions’ attack and LMU took the set 25-19 to tie the match 1-1.
Getting back in gear after falling behind to open the third set, the Cougars took a 5-4 lead on a Christie Carpenter kill. Carpenter’s next kill put BYU ahead 7-4 but Lion Jasmine Rankins tied the score 11-11 on a block and continued on to take a 12-11 lead. As the Cougars fought to stay in the set, LMU advanced on a 4-0 scoring streak. It was just enough to snap BYU out of its slump and the Cougars answered with six-straight points to steal back the lead 19-17. Caseye Thurston took set point for a 25-22 win.
BYU held off LMU for four straight points in the fourth set, then turned around and pumped out another 7-1 run as LMU scrambled to regroup. The Cougars wavered momentarily as match point drew near, letting the Lions within two when the score was at 19-17 and within one at 20-19. But Hamson wasn’t about to let the Lions take over without a fight. The opposite hitter threw down a kill to tie her career high of 20 kills. Warner tried to prevent a five-set match with a pair of kills, but the Lions came back for a 27-25 win to once again tie the match.
Career and season highs were set left and right in the fifth set. Hamson started off the Cougar scoring breaking her career-high for kills in a match. LeCheminant reached her new block record blocks and Thurston’s 12th kill took the Cougars to an 8-4 lead. LMU brought the score to 9-7 on a kill by Alyse Hensley. The Lions struggled for a late comeback, but couldn’t muster the strength to prevent a Warner kill from taking the set 15-9 and the match 3-2
The Cougars continue their California road trip with a visit to San Diego for a 1 p.m. PDT matchup against the Toreros on Saturday.
Cougars Set Out for California
PROVO, Utah—Securing its first win in league play, the BYU women’s volleyball team continues its march through the West Coast Conference with matchups at Loyola Marymount Thursday and No. 18 San Diego Saturday.
Thursday’s match begins at 7 p.m. PDT in Los Angeles, while the Saturday match begins at 1 p.m. PDT in San Diego.
“We’re excited for our first road trip in the West Coast Conference,” BYU head coach Shawn Olmstead said. “We believe both LMU and USD are great opponents and they have our full attention as we travel to California.”
The Cougars (12-3) took down Saint Mary’s 3-0 (25-14, 25-17, 25-13) in their first appearance in WCC competition. Opposite hitter Jennifer Hamson once again recorded a double-figure evening, her 13th of the season, with 12 kills on .550 hitting, also contributing six blocks and four service aces. Middle blocker Nicole Warner threw down 10 total blocks, nine assisted and one solo, to set a new season high. Senior outside hitter Casey Thurston set a season high of eight kills off the bench and had five blocks.
Hamson leads BYU with 214 kills, averaging 4.28 per set on .328 hitting. She also contributes 1.16 blocks per set and has 21 service aces on the season. Junior libero Kendalyn Hartsock has 230 total digs at 4.60 per set and Warner has 88 blocks. Setter Heather Hannemann reached 526 assists in the last match.
LMU, currently undefeated in conference play with a 2-0 record, is 8-6 on the season. The Cougars look to continue their undefeated all-time record (2-0) against LMU.
At the helm of the Lions’ offense is Jasmine Rankins, who puts up 3.42 kills per set. Litara Keil has recorded 42 blocks this season, .89 per set, to lead the Lions and Betsi Metter has 224 digs at 4.67 per set.
Reigning WCC champion USD fell 3-0 to San Francisco last week, putting the Toreros in fifth place in the conference standings going into the second week of WCC play. USD still holds the best season record in the league at 14-1 on the season.
Leading the Toreros, Amber Tatsch has 167 kills. Chloe Ferrari is close behind with 155 kills. Katie Hoekman and Kandiss Anderson head the defense with 53 blocks and 189 digs, respectively.
BYU hasn’t faced USD since 1996, when BYU took home the victory. The series is tied 1-1.
For links to live stats, click HERE.