PROVO, Utah --The No. 21 BYU women’s volleyball team came out strong during its first home match of the season, defeating rival University of Utah 3-0 (24-14, 25-15, 26-24) Friday night to remain undefeated on the season.
“It’s always exciting to beat Utah, so that makes it a little more sweet and enjoyable,” head coach Shawn Olmstead said. “I thought we played well, served tough, kept it on them, made digs in transition, and got good swings out of it too. Our passing and serving was just on par tonight.”
With the victory, the Cougars improved to 7-0, their best start since the 2005 season. Utah falls to 6-3 on the season. The win also gives BYU the Deseret Duel trophy for women’s volleyball and ties the overall Deseret Duel series between Utah at 3-3.
Jennifer Hamson and Alexa Gray led the charge for the Cougars contributing 16 kills and 13 kills, respectively. Hamson hit .625 to lead the Cougars. Jessica Jardine also made it into double figures with 11 kills and seven digs. Setter Heather Hannemann had 39 assists and nine digs, while Ciara Parker led on the back row with 17 digs. Defensive specialist Tia Withers had 12 digs.
Utah held close at the beginning of the first set, but the Cougars never trailed. Midway through the set, Gray contributed a consecutive kill and block giving BYU a 17-11 lead and forcing a Utah timeout. BYU never looked back and sealed the first set with a Hamson kill, 25-14.
In the second set, BYU and Utah traded points back and forth early on. Trying to keep within reach, Utah outside hitter Morgan Odale spiked the ball to bring Utah within one of the Cougars at 7-6. With her fourth kill of the set, Hamson put BYU up 14-10 and the Cougars never gave up the lead for the remainder of the set. Another kill from Hamson ultimately put the set away at 25-15.
Utah pushed BYU during the final set, but ultimately could not prevail. Down 16-13 and with the home crowd of 3,550 on their feet, Utah middle blocker Erin Redd served the ball out of bounds, sparking a 7-1 BYU run. The Utes tied it up at 24 apiece late into the match, but BYU’s Jessica Jardine was too much to handle for the Utes, forcing an attack error to seal the set 26-24.
The Cougars resume play tomorrow at the Smith Fieldhouse when they take on Bowling Green at noon MDT and Portland State at 7 p.m. MDT in the BYU Nike Invitational.
Bowling Green vs. Portland State
The BYU Invitational opened with Bowling Green winning the opening game 3-1 (16-25, 25-19, 25-23, 25-17) over Portland State on Friday on Elaine Michaelis Court.
The Falcons (2-4) lost the first set but battled back to win the next three for the win over the Vikings (3-5). Bowling Green’s Danielle Tonyan led with 15 kills and Paige Penrod and Lindsey Butterfield added 14 kills apiece.
The first set was a tight one and no more than four points at the start of the first match separated the teams. Every time Portland State built momentum Bowling Green would answer with a timely block or kill to keep it close. The Vikings eventually extended their lead to 22-15, closing the set with a 25-16 victory.
Bowling Green found the groove to open up the second and third sets, jumping out to early leads in both sets. The Falcons took set 2 but in set 3 Portland State battled back to take a 14-13 advantage and make it interesting. Both teams traded leads all the way down the stretch, but Bowling Green came out on top 25-23 to take a 2-1 lead in the match.
The Falcons took the early lead in set 3 at 11-6. Bowling Green controlled the set with a 5-0 run and had a 21-10 lead. The Vikings stayed with three straight points to cut the lead to 24-17, but the Falcons finished them off to win the set 25-17 and the match 3-1.
No. 21 Cougars host BYU Nike Invitational
PROVO, Utah—Following a duo of wins against top-25 teams, the No. 21 BYU women’s volleyball team welcomes Utah, Bowling Green and Portland State to Elaine Michaelis Court for the BYU Nike Invitational Friday and Saturday.
The Cougars (6-0) play Utah (6-2) at 7 p.m. MDT Friday in the team’s home opener. The teams will compete for the Deseret First Duel trophy and three points toward the overall Deseret First Duel count. Utah leads the Duel 3-0 after a win in women’s soccer.
BYU then faces Bowling Green Saturday at noon and Portland State at 7 p.m.
With 98 total kills, junior opposite hitter Jennifer Hamson averages 4.45 kills per set. Hamson was named MVP for both the Rice Invitational and the Shocker Volleyball Classic. Setter Heather Hannemann has had 260 assists in the last six matches and freshman libero Ciara Parker has tallied 112 digs. Both have been named to an all-tournament team since the start of the season.
Utah won the Aggie Invitational during the first week of the season, defeating in-state foes Utah State, Utah Valley, Southern Utah and Weber State. The Utes lost to Santa Clara and North Carolina Friday and Saturday, respectively, only defeating UC Davis in their weekend tournament.
Chelsey Schofield leads Utah with 3.82 kills per set, aided by McKenzie Odale’s 10.39 assists per set. Middle blocker Bailey Bateman could cause trouble at the net with an average 1.59 blocks.
BYU leads the series against Utah 65-29-0 after beating the Utes in the teams’ meeting last season on Crimson Court.
Bowling Green is 1-4 on the season after losing to Georgia Tech and Cleveland State over the weekend. The Falcons pulled off a four-set win Saturday at Indiana.
Leading the team is Danielle Tonyan with 3.56 kills per set and Paige Penrod with 3.33. Laura Avila averages 8.50 assists per set, while Ashley Dunn has 3.89 digs per set. Kaitlyn Skinner leads in blocks with 1.22 per set.
Saturday’s match is BYU’s first ever against Bowling Green.
The Vikings are 3-3 on the season after the Bankers Classic over the weekend. Portland State swept both Northern Illinois and Nevada Saturday after losing to Pacific Friday night. The Vikings finished second in the tournament.
Portland State meets UC Santa Barbara at home Tuesday night before heading to Provo for the weekend.
Jaklyn Wheeler leads the Viking offense with 4.14 kills per set. She’s aided by Garyn Schlatter with 11.36 assists per set and Kasimira Clark with 5.0 digs per set.
BYU hasn’t played against Portland State since 1984, when Portland State defeated the Cougars 2-1 in the BYU Preview Invitational. BYU leads the series 4-3-0.
How to watch
Tickets are available through the Marriot Center Ticket Office, which can be reached by calling 800-322-BYU1(2981) or 801-422-2981 (local), or at the Smith Fieldhouse Ticket Office up to one hour before the first match. For more information on tickets, visit the ticket page.