Gray and No. 14 Cougars sweep Tigers in nail-biting match
PROVO, Utah – Junior Alexa Gray led No. 14 BYU women’s volleyball in a nail-biting sweep (25-21, 27-25, 26-24) over the University of the Pacific Saturday at the Smith Fieldhouse.
"It's good to be tested and be able to pull through and win," head coach Shawn Olmstead said. "It's nice to have this home-court advantage. The crowd was unreal today, especially in an afternoon match. It was nice to have a crowd like that. Pacific is a great team, so hats off to them for battling even being down two sets, they just kept at it."
Gray finished with a game-high 18 kills and four blocks with Jennifer Hamson following up with 12 kills and three blocks. Sophomore Whitney Young added a game-high eight blocks and four kills with a .500 clip, while Amy Boswell chipped in four blocks. Camry Godfrey Willardson finished with 36 assists, eight digs and five blocks to tie a career high. Ciara Parker added a team-high 13 digs in the win.
BYU finished with a .252 clip and led Pacific in blocks 15-7 and service aces 5-4.
The Cougars (21-4, 12-2 West Coast Conference) and Tigers (19-7, 8-5 WCC) started the first set in a back-and-forth battle with Boswell and Hamson’s block giving BYU its first 6-5 lead. A 6-2 Cougar run that included kills by Gray, a service ace by Parker and a block by Young extended their lead to six at 16-10. Pacific brought it back within two points, 21-19, but Gray’s kill and a block by Gray and Young extended BYU’s lead to four. Gray’s seventh kill ended the set 25-21 for the Cougars.
BYU got off to a quick 4-2 start in the second set after Hannah Robison’s back-row kill, but was followed by a 3-0 Pacific run to give it the 5-4 lead. During a 6-1 Cougar run, Gray added three kills for a four-point lead. Following a 3-0 run and a 21-19 lead by the Tigers, BYU retook the 24-23 lead with consecutive kills from Hamson and Gray. After two chances for set point with two kills by Young, Robison’s second kill ended the set 27-25 in favor of the Cougars.
In the third set, Pacific took a 13-8 lead until BYU reeled off a 6-0 run to take back a one-point lead, 14-13. Hamson helped the Cougars go on a 6-3 run with a solo block and four kills for the 21-19 lead. The Tigers tied it up at 24 apiece, but were answered by Hamson’s kill and a Hamson and Young block to take the match 26-24.
The Cougars will welcome San Diego to the Smith Fieldhouse for senior night on Friday at 7:30 p.m. MST for their final home game of conference play. The match will be televised live on BYUtv with links to live stats and a video feed 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.