Despite having a 2-0 record on the road in conference play, the Santa Clara (7-8) could not handle the BYU women’s volleyball team in the Smith Fieldhouse on Thursday. The Cougars (14-4) clenched their third WCC win in a 3-0 shut-out (25-14, 25-19, 25-13).
“Santa Clara is a great team, but tonight we served really well and kept it in,” head coach Shawn Olmstead said. “We really just got them out of system. They weren’t able to run their offense. We wanted to slow them down and that’s what we came out and did.”
Santa Clara called a timeout in the first set, when BYU led 10-5; however, the Broncos were unsuccessful in their attempt to find a solution for the Cougar’s consistency on both offense and defense. WCC player of the month, sophomore opposite hitter Jennifer Hamson, had a .750 attack percentage converting six of her eight attack attempts. Freshman defensive specialist Tia Withers was also a crowd favorite. Fans were chanting, “T-I-A,” as she delivered back-to-back serve aces.
“I felt like we were all meshing tonight and it is because we put in a lot of hard work this week and it paid off,” Wither said. “It just felt really clean.”
In the second set, the Broncos were still unable to slow down the Cougar’s momentum. Freshman outside hitter Katie Vaughn came in off the bench to smash two kills. Junior middle blocker Dana Knudsen was the leader for the Bronco’s finishing up with five kills in the second set alone.
“We focused on the simple things and it is the simple things that win matches,” Withers said.
Junior Heather Hannemann had another impressive performance at setter with 34 assists. Senior outside hitter Christie Carpenter laid it down with 10 kills and junior middle blocker Nicole Warner added another seven kills of her own. Sophomore middle blocker Kathryn LeCheminant had the final dink against the Broncos to end the match.
The BYU defense was also on the ball reeling in 11 team blocks, while Santa Clara was only able to come up with three on the night.
“Our passing made all the difference tonight,” Carpenter said. “It made it easy for Heather to set really well and set it up for us to hit.”
The Cougars next match will be in California against the WCC leader No. 20 Pepperdine on Saturday. BYU’s next home match is Oct. 20.