Cougars Fall in Series Tiebreaker
MORAGA, Calif.—Insufficient blocking and digs plagued the BYU women’s volleyball team, which dropped a 3-0 (25-14, 25-21, 25-23) contest to Saint Mary’s Thursday night on the Gaels’ home court.
“Saint Mary’s was a much better team than we were tonight,” BYU head coach Shawn Olmstead said. “They got a lot of serves past us and put a lot of pressure on our passers. We weren’t able to respond very well, especially in returning their serves. We did some okay things, but overall they were just a better team than us in that category.”
BYU (20-8, 9-5) falls to 1-2 against Saint Mary’s (14-12, 6-6) this season after losing the first match 3-0 in the BYU Nike Invitational and defeating Saint Mary’s 3-0 in the first round of conference play.
The Gaels' Lauren Corp proved a handful for the Cougar defense as the first set opened, throwing down a kill to put Saint Mary’s on the board and increasing the Gaels’ lead to 5-1 on back-to-back service aces. Middle blocker Nicole Warner scored BYU’s first two points with kills from Hannemann. Three straight errors by Saint Mary’s and a Christie Carpenter kill put BYU back in the set, bringing the score to 11-10 before a 6-1 Gael scoring streak gave Saint Mary’s a comfortable 20-11 lead. Hamson finally recorded her first points of the night, scoring the Cougars’ last three points, but her rally wasn’t enough to prevent a 25-14 Gael win in the first set.
Hannemann started the second set off right for BYU on a service ace. Saint Mary’s took back the lead, but blocks by Warner put the Cougars back on top 3-2. Four consecutive points gave BYU a 7-2 lead, but the Gaels came back to tie with the help of three straight kills by Jordan Shaw. The score tied seven more times before the set ran out with Saint Mary’s pulling away on Cougar errors and an ace for a 25-21 win.
BYU took the early lead in the third set, going up 3-1 on a kill by Casey Thurston. The Cougars maintained at least a two-point lead until a kill by Kathryn LeCheminant launched a 5-1 BYU scoring streak to bring the score to 13-8. Shaw and Samantha Tinsley pulled the Gaels out of their rut with three kills and a Tinsley ace, putting Saint Mary’s within one point of BYU. The Gaels took a 17-16, but LeCheminant managed to tie with a kill. LeCheminant blocked Corp to put the Cougars ahead 19-18. Two more ties turned the tables in Saint Mary’s favor and Shaw sealed the set 25-23 and the match 3-0 for the Gaels.
The Cougars take a break over the weekend before getting set for the final week of the regular season. BYU welcomes Portland to Elaine Michaelis Court Nov. 17 at 7 p.m. and Gonzaga Nov. 19 at 1 p.m. for Senior Day.
BYU women’s volleyball season tickets for the upcoming 2023 campaign will go on sale beginning Wednesday, July 26.