Provo, Utah--No. 16 BYU women's volleyball battled Gonzaga at home on Saturday and earned their eighth-straight sweep and 11th of the season (25-17, 25-7, 25-14) to stay undefeated and 2-0 in conference play.
“Last match against Gonzaga here on our floor was a little disappointing for us,” head coach Shawn Olmstead said. “I’m excited and thrilled with the outcome. I think that’s a good team over there and I’m happy with the way we executed our game plan and put a lot of pressure on them throughout the match.”
BYU is 14-0 on the season and 2-0 in conference. Gonzaga falls to 8-7 and 0-2 in conference.
Alexa Gray led the team with 12 kills, while Jennifer Hamson added 11. Heather Hannemann contributed 35 assists and Kathryn Lecheminant led the team with seven total blocks to tie her season high. Kimberly Dahl also set career highs for both solo blocks and block assists in the sweep with two and three, respectively.
BYU struggled to gain control early in the first set, but pulled away late to take the 25-17 victory. Hamson led the way with six kills and senior setter Heather Hannemann added 15 assists.
In the second set, BYU took a 17-2 lead early. Libero Ciara Parker served 15 points in the process, adding to her 17 digs on the night. In the end, BYU earned the 25-7 victory to hold their second opponent of the season to under ten points, with the last being against George Washington.
With the score tied 6-6 in the third set, Gray added three kills to help BYU gain a five-point lead on the Bulldogs. BYU pushed away from there to claim the sweep with a 25-14 win.
BYU’s defense took control throughout the game, adding 13 blocks to Gonzaga’s two and 29 digs to Gonzaga’s 12.
BYU will continue its undefeated season on the road next week as they travel to San Fransisco and Saint Mary’s for conference play on Thursday and Saturday, respectively.
No. 16 Cougars start league play vs. No. 14 Pepperdine
PROVO, Utah—The No. 16 BYU women’s volleyball team welcomes its first two conference opponents of the season to Elaine Michaelis Court, starting with No. 14 Pepperdine Thursday and Gonzaga Saturday.
Both matches will air on BYUtv, with the Pepperdine match beginning at 7 p.m. and the Gonzaga match beginning at 1 p.m. on their respective days.
BYU, now 12-0 on the season in its best start since 2005, is coming off four-straight tournament wins.
The Cougars are led by opposite hitter Jennifer Hamson, a three-time tournament MVP this season. Hamson is No. 20 in NCAA Division I volleyball for points per set with 4.99. She leads the team in kills with 4.10 per set and 164 on the season.
Senior blocker Nicole Warner leads the team in blocks per set with 1.50, good to tie for 11th place in the NCAA stat rankings. Warner is aided by junior middle blocker Kathryn LeCheminant with .95 blocks per set. LeCheminant is also the most accurate hitter on the team, hitting .438 for No. 14 in Division I stats.
Setter Heather Hannemann runs the offense for the Cougars, with 11.75 assists per set that put her at No. 12 in the stat rankings. She passed former Cougar Carla Gee’s career assists record over the weekend to become No. 9 in BYU history with 1,705 assists. Hannemann needs 577 more kills to become No. 8 in BYU history for total assists.
The Cougars are one of only eight undefeated Division I volleyball teams this season. Only one of those teams has a better record (13-0) while four have the same record as BYU. The team is also in the top 20 in three other statistics categories. The Cougars rank No. 3 in hitting percentage, hitting .330. In kills per set, BYU ranks No. 7 with 14.78. The team is No. 18 for assists per set with 13.43.
The last time a ranked BYU team faced a ranked opponent in the Smith Fieldhouse was in 2008, when No. 24 BYU lost to No. 15 Colorado State.
Pepperdine jumped BYU in the poll this week after knocking off then-No. 11 Florida State and then-No. 21 Ohio State in Houston. The team also played against No. 2 UCLA. The waves are 9-3 on the season.
WCC player of the week Jazmine Orozco leads the Waves with 3.67 kills per set. She is backed up by Kellie Woolever, who has 11.02 assists per set. The Waves count on Victoria Adelhelm at the net with her 1.20 blocks per set and Michaela Christiaansen leads the back row with a 3.72 digs average. Adelhelm is No. 17 in the stat rankings for hitting percentage at .421.
Pepperdine is No. 9 in NCAA stats for assists per set, averaging 13.73, and is No. 10 for kills per set with 14.70.
BYU leads the series with Pepperdine 12-8-0. In the last meeting, Pepperdine defeated the Cougars 3-1 in Provo. Pepperdine finished the 2011 season No. 1 in the WCC and made it to the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament. The Waves were picked to finish third in the WCC Preseason Poll.
Gonzaga is 8-5 on the season, coming off of a 4-1 weekend.
Savannah Blinn leads the Bulldogs with 3.79 kills per set and 29 total service aces. On the back row, Kristina Lavrisha leads with 4.09 digs per set. Meredith Crenshaw leads the team with a 1.05 blocks average.
BYU leads the series with Gonzaga 5-1-0 after losing to Gonzaga in the team’s last meeting. Gonzaga defeated BYU 3-1 in Provo in 2011. Gonzaga finished last season tied for No. 8 in conference and was picked to finish No. 9 this season.
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 starting one hour before the match. For more information on tickets, visit the ticket page.