Team effort leads No. 10 Cougars over Santa Clara
PROVO, Utah – A joint effort from Alexa Gray, Tambre Nobles and Amy Boswell led No. 10 BYU women's volleyball past Santa Clara in three sets (25-10, 25-16, 25-18) Saturday night at the Smith Fieldhouse.
“I’m really happy with the girls,” head coach Shawn Olmstead said. “That’s a quality team and a great win for us. They’re just coming off a top-25 win on the road and the girls came out from the start and executed really well.”
With the win, BYU (14-2, 5-0 West Coast Conference) improves to 6-2 all-time against the Broncos (12-5, 2-2 WCC) and extends its win streak to nine games. BYU is 13-0 in matches decided in three sets and 15-1 win they win the first set of the match.
Gray recorded a team-high 11 kills to go with three block assists while hitting at a .529 clip. Nobles added 10 kills of her own, while Boswell recorded eight. Camry Godfrey Willardson finished with a match-high 29 assists and three kills. Jennifer Hamson added a team-high eight digs in the victory while Whitney Young contributed a match-high seven blocks.
Santa Clara struggled in the match, recording 24 errors and only 31 kills at a .075 hitting percentage. BYU had 41 kills while hitting at a .360 clip.
BYU used an 8-0 run in the middle of the first set to win 25-10. Young recorded BYU’s first kill of the night to go up 2-1. After starting the set with back-and-forth points, the Cougars used a block from Boswell to take the lead and never look back. Gray and Boswell led the way for the Cougars in set one with Gray totaling five kills and Boswell slamming three of her own. BYU’s hitting percentage was .429 while Santa Clara struggled with nine errors and eight kills, hitting at a -.033 clip.
Willardson brought the crowd to its feet and showed her versatility as she elevated to spike the ball to give BYU a 4-3 lead to start the second set. Willardson proved to be a crowd-pleaser again later in the set when she met a Santa Clara attacker at the net and picked up a solo block. With the help of two Bronco errors, a block and two kills by Hamson, the Cougars used a 5-0 run to break open set two 18-9.
Following a timeout, Santa Clara used a 4-0 run of its own to get back in the game. The Broncos' Nikki Hess had two kills while Kaity Edwards added a kill of her own and a block to provide the spark. Following a timeout, Hamson and Nobles came out and squashed the Bronco run with back-to-back kills to give BYU control of the set 20-13. Gray eventually spiked home set point to give BYU the 25-15 win. Gray recorded five more kills with Hamson also picking up five kills in the set. Nobles added four kills and Willardson totaled 14 assists to go with her one block.
BYU stayed in cruise control to start the third and final set using a 6-0 run, punctuated with two kills from Willardson and a block from Nobles to take an early 10-3 lead. After falling behind early the Broncos didn’t go quietly, using a 3-0 run to cut the Cougar lead to four at 11-7. But the Cougars proved to be too much as Hamson slammed home match point to give BYU the sweep.
“Great teams have to go on the road and win in conference,” Olmstead said. “Hopefully the girls can carry some confidence with what they’re feeling right now and take that on the road.”
The Cougars travel to take on Pacific in Stockton, California, on Oct. 9 at 7 p.m. PDT. The game can be streamed online at TheW.tv. Links to live stats and the video feed can be found online on the BYU women’s volleyball page.
BYU women’s volleyball season tickets for the upcoming 2023 campaign will go on sale beginning Wednesday, July 26.