Provo, Utah--Led by four hitters in double-figures, the No. 16 BYU women’s volleyball team beat San Francisco in four sets (25-18, 25-14, 20-25, 25-21) on Elaine Michaelis Court Saturday night to remain undefeated at home.
“I thought that we attacked well out of system because we weren’t passing that well,” head coach Shawn Olmstead said. “When we don’t have a good pass it makes it tougher on the setter, which makes it even tougher on the hitter, so we took good swings at crucial times. That’s a positive and we hope to move forward with that.”
BYU improves to 18-1 and 6-1 in conference play, while San Francisco falls to 12-8 and 3-4 in the WCC.
Nicole Warner and Alexa Gray led the team in kills with 12, while Jennifer Hamson and Kimberly Dahl each contributed 10. Hamson also had 12 digs to earn her fourth double-double of the season. Tia Withers finished the game with 17 digs to set a season record and tie her career record. Kathryn LeCheminant led the team with eight total blocks for a season high, seven of which were block assists. Heather Hannemann also had 40 assists in the game for her sixth double-double of the season.
In set one, BYU took the early 6-2 lead, but San Francisco pushed back with a 4-0 run to tie the game at six. BYU fought back with a run of its own and converted on two team blocks and a kill by Nicole Warner to gain back the lead. BYU and San Francisco traded points until a 4-0 run by the Cougars brought the score to 15-9 and forced a Don time out. BYU maintained its lead coming out of the time out to take the 25-18 victory.
Tied at 3-3 in the second set, BYU went on an 8-2 run to gain a comfortable lead. The Cougars built on some San Francisco errors and team blocks and kills throughout the rest of the set to earn the 25-14 win.
San Francisco fought to avoid the sweep in the third set and came out energized to grab the early lead. With an 11-8 score in favor of the Dons, BYU was forced to call its first time out of the night. After the time out, BYU fought back to tie the score at 14-14, but San Francisco quickly answered with a 4-0 run and pushed to earn the 25-20 victory. Prior to this loss, BYU had not lost a single set at home this season. It was also the Cougars' first loss in the third set this year.
Down 3-1 in the fourth set, the Cougars pulled together a 6-0 run and stayed aggressive both offensively and defensively to shut down the Dons. BYU pushed its lead to 19-12 before forcing San Francisco to call a time out. The Dons fought back within two points of BYU at 22-20, but the Cougars pushed to hold the game and the home victory at 25-21.
BYU will play next at home on Thursday at 7 p.m. MDT against Saint Mary’s, who handed BYU its first and only loss of the season Sept. 29.
No. 16 Cougars host league matches
PROVO, Utah—After two weeks on the road, the No. 16 BYU women’s volleyball team returns to the Smith Fieldhouse for matchups with Portland Thursday at 7 p.m. and San Francisco Saturday at 7:30 p.m. MDT.
BYUtv will broadcast the San Francisco match. Please note the start time for Saturday’s match has been pushed back by half an hour to accommodate TV.
Junior Jennifer Hamson leads the Cougars (16-1, 4-1) and the West Coast Conference with 4.05 kills per set. With a 1.58 digs average and a 1.20 blocks average, the 6-foot-7 opposite hitter is No. 20 in NCAA Division I volleyball in points per set. Hamson is aided by freshman outside hitter Alexa Gray, who averages 3.42 kills.
Senior Nicole Warner is No. 1 in NCAA Division I volleyball for blocks per set with 1.73. In WCC play, Warner averages 2.21 blocks. Also in the top 20 in NCAA stats, senior Heather Hannemann ranks No. 11 for assists per set with 11.69.
BYU is No. 2 in Division I volleyball for hitting percentage (.318) and No. 11 for blocks per set with 2.95. BYU is tied for No. 3 with Penn State for win-loss percentage (16-1, .941) behind only Washington (15-0, 1.000) and Central Arkansas (19-1, .950). The Cougars are also No. 20 in kills per set with 14.36.
The team is undefeated at home (5-0) and looks to continue that unbeaten streak this week.
BYU swept the series with Portland last season, putting the Cougars at 2-0 in the overall series. They last met in the teams’ final match of the season, and BYU won 3-0.
Portland hopes to end a seven-match losing streak and pick up its first conference win. The Pilots are 6-14 on the season and 0-6 in league play.
Ariel Usher and Autumn Wedan lead Portland with 3.04 and 3.07 kills per set, respectively. Two Pilots rank in the top 10 in WCC stat categories, with Monica Jordan at No. 8 for assists per set (5.55) and Rachel Fleming at No. 8 for blocks per set (.90).
The Cougars face San Francisco for the second time this season after defeating the Dons 3-1 on Sept. 27. BYU now leads the overall series 5-0.
San Francisco is 12-6 overall and 3-2 in conference play. Last week the Dons defeated Gonzaga 3-2 before sweeping Portland.
Jocelyn Levig heads the San Francisco offense with 3.72 kills per set, helped out by Ester De Vries’ 3.53 kills per set. Leanna Ludes directs traffic with a 10.31 assists average and Valentina Zaloznik leads in blocks with .65 per set.
How to follow
Live stats are available for the Portland match.
Check out BYU women’s volleyball’s promo video on the BYU Cougars YouTube page.