Cougars Return To Winning Ways
USAFA -- The BYU women’s volleyball team returned to its winning ways on Wednesday night, sweeping the Air Force Falcons (25-17, 25-23, 25-10) at the Academy. The Cougars held the Falcons to a .000 hitting percentage on the night while improving to 10-8 overall on the year.
“We finished really well,” said BYU head coach Shay Goulding. “I thought our defense did an excellent job of following the scouting report so we were really able to shut down some people. Our offense was up and down a little bit, but our defense was solid all night.”
Junior Kayla Walker led the way for BYU with 10 kills, the 11th time this year she has posted double-digit winners. Fellow junior Ashton Hansen Hosford was right behind with nine kill on .429 hitting. Walker also paced the Cougars with six blocks while Hosford added five. Sophomore libero Melissa Lake tied her career high with 18 digs.
Air Force jumped out first in set one, scoring the first three points, but the Cougars quickly fought back to take an 11-5 lead on eight straight scores. Hosford led the early charge for BYU with three kills in the first eight Cougar points. From there, the Cougars made quick work of the Falcons, taking the set 25-17. BYU posted four team blocks in the first frame, including three from Walker, while holding AFA to a .037 hitting percentage.
Set two was a battle from the start as the two teams traded points to a 4-4 tie. Air Force managed to pull ahead at 7-4 with back-to-back kills and a Cougar hitting error until Hosford and Walker combined for a block to get the sideout. The rejection sparked a 4-0 spurt that gave BYU a brief lead at 8-7, but moments later, the Falcons were back on top at 12-9. Down 14-10, the Cougars scored seven of the next eight points capped by a block from Hosford and Walker to go up 17-15. However, not to be outdone, AFA stormed back with five straight points to take a 20-17 lead late in the set and force a Cougar timeout. Redshirt freshman Casey Speredon scored for BYU out of the break, and five points later the Cougars were in front 23-20. The Falcons cut the lead to one point, but BYU finally put the set away at 25-23.
Speredon picked up where she left off in the third set, recording the first Cougar point of the frame. The momentum continued for BYU to a 4-0 early advantage until AFA finally got on the board and knotted the score. The Cougars pulled back in front on four straight Falcon errors and never looked back with a 9-1 run to go up 13-5. BYU scored 10 of the last 11 points to seal the match with a 25-10 win.
BYU will now face perhaps its toughest test of the season as the Cougars travel to take on No. 3 Texas on Friday in Austin, Texas. The match will begin at 6:30 p.m. CT (5:30 p.m. MT) and can be followed via GameTracker or CSTV All-Access.
BYU women’s volleyball season tickets for the upcoming 2023 campaign will go on sale beginning Wednesday, July 26.