In a long five set match, the BYU women’s volleyball team defeated the hosting LMU Lions in Los Angeles Thursday night.
The match was a bitter battle to the end with the Cougars coming out on top 3-2 (25-23, 19-25, 25-22, 25-27, 15-9). This was the first match BYU has played all season to go five sets.
“They were undefeated in conference,” head coach Shawn Olmstead. “We knew they were going to be good and they were. Towards the end of the match we fought hard and did what we needed to in order to win.”
The first set was a nailbiter, with the Lions and Cougars fighting for the lead. Senior outside hitter Casey Thurston had a critical block at the end of the set to help put BYU on top.
“We did fight hard for the first set and we made plays when they made errors,” Olmstead said.
The Cougars struggled in the second set, falling by six points to the Lions.
“They had the momentum going into the second set,” Olmstead. “We still played well, but things were going their way.”
However, BYU was able to turn things around and won the third set before heading into the ten minute break.
“We knew they were a good opponent,” sophomore opposite hitter Jennifer Hamson said, “and we knew it wasn’t going to be easy.”
Heading into the fourth set, the Lions gave it their all but barely beat the Cougars to send the match into five sets.
“We let little things fall, but we were able to make the necessary changes and in the next set we rallied back,” Hamson said. “It was definitely an experience.”
The Cougars made their first five set match one to remember, beating the Lions by six points.
“We talked about what the fifth set means and we knew what we had to do,” Olmstead said. “We had to fight for this one and I’m happy for the girls and the way they performed.”
Once again Hamson led the team with 21 kills and was followed by Thurston who had 13. Junior setter Heather Hannemann had another great setting game putting up 52 assists and junior libero Kendalyn Hartsock had 23 digs. It was an all-around solid team effort by the Cougars.
“We are going to rest tonight and then put together a good game plan for San Diego,” Olmstead said.
The Cougars (13-3) are now 2-0 in WCC play and will look to keep the team’s win streak alive heading into their match on Saturday taking on San Diego.