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PORTLAND—Outside hitter Christie Carpenter’s season-high 20 kills led the BYU women’s volleyball team to a 3-1 (25-16, 25-17, 18-25, 25-15) win against Portland Saturday afternoon, increasing the Cougars’ record to 15-5 and 4-2 in conference.
“This is a nice way to start off our road trip,” BYU head coach Shawn Olmstead said. “I thought the girls played well. They were able to fight through losing the third set and came back in set four. They passed well and did some nice things.”
Along with her 20 kills on .341 hitting, Carpenter contributed 11 digs for her third double-double of the season. Opposite hitter Jennifer Hamson also had a double-double with 16 kills and 10 digs. Heather Hannemann had 45 assists and Nicole Warner led with four blocks. Libero Kendalyn Hartsock had 18 digs.
The Cougars punched out four quick points before the Pilots (7-14, 1-7) answered with three of their own. A kill by Casey Thurston pushed the lead to 9-5. BYU maintained the four-point lead until a block and kill by Warner followed by a Pilot service error put the Cougars ahead by seven. Carpenter locked up the first set 25-16 on a kill.
Portland didn’t let the Cougars off as easily in the second set, pushing three ties to open the set. BYU surged ahead for a 6-3 lead, but Portland brought it back to tie two more times before bouncing ahead of the Cougars. Three-straight Portland errors put BYU back on top 14-12. Hamson increased that lead to 20-15 with a kill. Back-to-back Carpenter kills put BYU on track to take the second set and Carpenter and Warner closed out the set 25-17 with a block.
The Pilots came out of the break swinging, going up 4-1 before the Cougars could get in gear. BYU fought back for the 7-7 tie and bounced ahead 9-7 with the help of yet another of Carpenter’s kills. Portland tied it up again 11-11 and continued forward for a 12-11 lead, launching a neck-and-neck battle for control of the set. After four ties, BYU allowed the Pilots a 3-0 run to take a 17-14 lead. The Cougars couldn’t hold on as the set wound down, allowing Portland five kills to end the set 25-18 and push the match to four sets.
Returning to the court with renewed energy, the Cougars took a 4-0 run to begin the fourth set led by Carpenter and Hamson. A service ace by Hamson put BYU ahead 10-4. The Cougars continued to plow through the set, increasing their lead to 18-8. Kimberli Boswell posted another Cougar victory on a kill for a 25-15 win of the fourth set.
The Cougars continue their tour of the Northwest with a matchup against Gonzaga Monday at 6 p.m. PDT in Spokane, Wash. The Bulldogs (7-11, 1-6) earned their first West Coast Conference win against Portland Thursday.
Women's Volleyball Faces Pilots, Bulldogs
PROVO, Utah—The BYU women’s volleyball team heads to the Pacific Northwest this weekend to take on Portland and Gonzaga Saturday and Monday, respectively.
“Portland and Gonzaga are both quality opponents,” BYU head Coach Shawn Olmstead said. “We know their coaches will have the teams prepared for us and we’re doing our part to get ready for them. We have a longer travel period than last week, so we need to be prepared.”
The Cougars (14-5, 3-2) seek to boost confidence and get back in their winning rhythm after falling to No. 20 Pepperdine, who remains the only undefeated team in the league.
The trip will be a homecoming of sorts for freshman defensive specialist Tia Withers, who hails from Beaverton, Ore., just 15 minutes outside of Portland. While playing for Sunset High in Beaverton, Ore., Withers took her team to two third-place finishes in the state championships. Withers has started nine matches in her debut season with the Cougars and recorded 126 digs.
Sophomore opposite hitter Jennifer Hamson leads the Cougars and the WCC with 267 kills (4.11 per set) and is third on the team for total blocks with 72 (1.11 per set). With 106 total blocks (1.63 per set), middle blocker Nicole Warner leads the team and the conference. Warner is currently No. 3 in the nation for blocks per set.
Setter Heather Hannemann totals 664 assists (10.22 per set) on the season with 148 digs and libero Kendalyn Hartsock has recorded 285 digs (4.38 per set), the second highest number of digs in the conference.
Portland is 7-12 on the season and 1-5 in the WCC, with its only conference win coming against San Francisco at home Oct. 1.
At the top of the Pilot offense is Ariel Usher, whose double-figure kills helped Portland to the 3-2 victory against USF. Usher averages 2.57 kills per set. Monica Jordan helps out on offense with 8.30 assists per set and Katie Mardesich and Marissa Plumber cover defense with 2.70 digs and .85 blocks per set, respectively.
Gonzaga (6-11, 0-6) looks to recover from a seven-match losing streak. Its last win came against Niagara Sept. 10, a 3-0 victory.
Laura Day hits 2.47 kills per set to lead the Bulldogs. Libero Kristina Lavrisha falls just behind BYU’s Hartsock in digs, averaging 3.59 for third-most in the league.
The Bulldogs and Pilots will play each other Thursday in Spokane, Wash., prior to the matches against BYU.
BYU will face the Pilots at 1 p.m. PDT Saturday in Portland and Gonzaga at 6 p.m. PDT Monday in Spokane, Wash.
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