Women's volleyball earns Sweet Sixteen berth
PROVO, Utah--The No. 12 seed BYU women’s volleyball team solidified its undefeated season at home with a 3-0 win (25-17, 25-21, 25-18) against Oklahoma in the second round of the NCAA volleyball tournament at the Smith Fieldhouse on Saturday to make it to the Sweet Sixteen.
The Cougars will play Friday in the region semifinals in Omaha, Neb.
"Overall, this was a great match," BYU head coach Shawn Olmstead said. "I was very impressed with Oklahoma. I think they even played better than last night. Tonight, for some reason, I never felt comfortable always wanting our girls to play better and they pulled through.”
Jennifer Hamson led BYU in kills with 17 and also had five blocks in the win. Nicole Warner produced both defensively and offensively with nine blocks to go along with her eight kills. Tia Withers led the Cougars in digs with 15 and Heather Hannemann finished the night with 34 assists and 14 digs to earn her twelfth double-double of the season.
BYU (28-3, 13-3 WCC) topped Oklahoma (22-11, 10-6 Big 12) in kills (48-36), blocks (11-9) and digs (52-44) in the three-set victory.
Hamson began the first set with a kill down the line, but Oklahoma quickly answered and the two teams fought back and forth early on. However, BYU started to create some separation at the 7-6 mark and continued to push until the Sooners were forced to call a timeout with the score at 12-8. BYU then took advantage of a few Sooner errors and extended its lead to 15-8 before handing the ball back to Oklahoma. BYU took its biggest lead at the 23-15 mark and held on to take the 25-17 win. Hamson had seven kills in the set to lead all hitters and Kimberly Dahl smashed five kills to aid BYU in the victory.
The second set started just as the first did with a kill from Hamson, who added two more kills to win the first three points for the Cougars. Oklahoma stayed right with BYU, though and took its first lead of the night on a block to put them up 5-4. Oklahoma extended its lead on three-straight kills and forced BYU to call a timeout at the 9-6 mark. However, BYU answered after the timeout with a 9-1 run of its own, highlighted by scrappy play and tough defense. The Cougars had three blocks and five digs during the run. BYU allowed the Sooners to come back within two points at the 23-21 mark, but a kill from Warner and Hamson sealed the 25-21 victory. Withers and Hannemann aided in the defensive effort for BYU with 13 combined digs and Warner grabbed three blocks in the set.
Hamson continued her run into the third set with another kill to start off the match, but Oklahoma remained close to keep the score tied. At 3-3, a kill from Warner and a solo block from Dahl sparked a 4-0 run for the Cougars. BYU extended its lead to seven, but Oklahoma fought back with a 3-0 run to force a BYU timeout at the 10-7 mark. Oklahoma cut the BYU lead to two, but BYU fought back to earn its biggest lead of the set at 19-10. The Cougars had five blocks during the run to add to its total of 11 for the night. Alexa Gray then solidified the win for the Cougars with a kill to give BYU the 25-18 victory.
BYU will play the winner of fifth-seed Oregon and Dayton in the region semifinal matchup Friday.
BYU women’s volleyball season tickets for the upcoming 2023 campaign will go on sale beginning Wednesday, July 26.