Cougars sweep Portland on senior day
PROVO, Utah -- Outside hitters Alexa Gray and Tambre Haddock finished with a combined 25 kills and led No. 24 BYU women’s volleyball to a sweep (25-17, 25-16, 25-13) over the Portland Pilots in its last home game in conference play on Saturday.
“We’re really happy and I thought we stayed pretty focused for the most part,” BYU head coach Shawn Olmstead said. “It’s tough when you play an opponent who’s looking to win a match on the season. Sometimes it can be distracting and we can overlook them, but I felt we prepared exactly the same as if we were playing the best team in the country. I was really happy with it.”
The Cougars improved to 22-5 on the season and 15-3 in the West Coast Conference, while the Pilots dropped to a 0-25 overall record and a 0-16 record in conference play.
BYU finished with a .430 hitting percentage with only eight errors on a total of 86 attempts. Gray finished with seven digs on top of her 15 kills, while Haddock contributed four blocks and three digs for the match. Senior Jessica Jardine finished with eight kills, five blocks and three digs on senior day with Kathryn LeCheminant adding six kills and five blocks of her own. Camry Godfrey finished with 34 of the team’s 39 total assists to go along with five digs and Ciara Parker added 10 digs on the match.
BYU got off to a slow start in the first set, trailing 4-1, but came back to tie it at 6-6 by a LeCheminant kill on the overpass by the Pilots. After going back down 7-6, the Cougars went on a 4-0 run that included a solo block by Haddock and a dump by Godfrey to extend the lead 10-7. A kill by Haddock gave BYU a six-point lead at 18-12, which forced Portland to call a timeout after another Haddock kill to go up 21-16. The Cougars went on a 4-1 run to end the set on a kill by Gray and finished 25-17.
The Cougars cruised through the second set after a 5-0 start, which included a service ace by Makenna Santiago. They went on another 4-0 run with a BYU block, a service ace by Haddock and a kill by Gray to take the 18-9 lead. A long rally was ended after three consecutive digs by BYU and a kill by Gray to extend the lead to 19-10. BYU went on to take a 10-point lead after a dig by Godfrey and an assist from Parker to Haddock for the kill and ended the set 25-16 on an out-of-bounds hit by Portland.
BYU took the third set 25-13 after trailing 11-10 to start, but immediately answered back with a 15-2 run to end the match. The big run was ignited from a kill by Gray and service aces by Godfrey and Gray. Sophomore Kimberly Dahl got a solo block to go up 24-13 and was immediately followed by a back-row kill by Gray to take the victory.
Seniors LeCheminant, Jardine and Kimberli Boswell were honored in their last home game of the regular season.
“We’re going to do what we’ve always done, which is prepare for this next match against San Diego,” Olmstead said. “They’re a great opponent, we beat them here, but they’re going to give us all we can handle there and we’re ready for it. I’m excited and I like what we’re doing. I think we’re playing at a really high level and if we can keep up that consistency, we’re going to be great.”
The Cougars will hit the road to play San Diego in their last conference game at the Jenny Craig Pavilion on Saturday at 1 p.m. PST. The game will be televised live on TheW.tv.
BYU women’s volleyball season tickets for the upcoming 2023 campaign will go on sale beginning Wednesday, July 26.