Cougars rout Utes in Deseret First Duel
PROVO, Utah – Juniors Alexa Gray and Camry Godfrey Willardson led BYU women's volleyball to a lopsided victory (25-18, 25-16, 25-7) over Utah in the Deseret First Duel Friday night at the Smith Fieldhouse.
Gray finished with 17 kills and two blocks. Willardson had 27 assists, two kills and two aces. Senior Jennifer Hamson finished with double-digit kills (11) while libero Ciara Parker contributed 14 digs to lead the team. Sophomore Whitney Young collected a team-high four blocks in the win.
“I don’t know if [our players] could have played a better match,” BYU head coach Shawn Olmstead said. “I was impressed by their composure. They played phenomenally.”
The Cougars got off to a fast start in the first set. After the Utes scored the first point of the match, BYU rolled off five-straight points to run their lead to 5-1. Utah bounced back and the two teams exchanged points until the Cougars forced a Ute timeout by pushing the lead to 14-9 - fueled by four early kills from Hamson. BYU came out of the timeout strong, building its lead to 19-12 thanks to a service ace from Hamson. Gray closed the first set with three late kills, the last winning the set 25-18. Gray led the Cougars in the set with six kills while hitting a .500 clip.
BYU opened the second set strong again as two kills from setter Willardson paced the Cougars to a 6-3 lead. BYU’s balanced attack continued to build the advantage until Utah took a timeout with the score at 10-4. Gray continued her strong performance, leading the Cougars to a 15-5 lead. The Utes closed the gap with a 5-0 run of their own until another Gray kill gave the serve back to BYU. The Cougars kept up the intensity, winning the second set 25-16 on a service ace from sophomore Amy Boswell. Willardson led BYU on the set with 10 assists and hit a .667 clip. In the second set, the Cougars hit a .480 clip as a team compared to just .143 for Utah.
BYU used a 7-0 run at the beginning of the third set to set the tone for the final set. Willardson had two service aces during the run and Gray recorded two kills. The Cougars never let off the gas and dominated the set 25-7. Gray again led BYU with six kills in the set.
The Cougars stay home to start West Coast Conference play Thursday, Sept. 25, against Gonzaga. The game is at 7 p.m. MDT and will be broadcast on BYUtv. Links to live stats and a video feed can be found on the BYU women's volleyball schedule page.
BYU women’s volleyball season tickets for the upcoming 2023 campaign will go on sale beginning Wednesday, July 26.