Sweet success in Oregon

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Despite homecourt advantage, Portland was unable to keep up with the BYU women’s volleyball team on Saturday afternoon.

The Cougars took down the Pilots 3-1 (25-16, 25-17, 18-25, 25-15) for their fourth conference victory. BYU (15-5) took advantage of only having one match this week in defeating the 7-14 Pilots.

The start of the first set consisted of the Cougars dominating on offense and the Pilots returning the favor with hard-hitting kills of their own.  After a few Portland errors and successful attack attempts by the Cougars, BYU was able to pull away in the final plays of the set to defeat the Pilots with ease.

“We did not want to dwell on last week’s loss,” head coach Shawn Olmstead said. “We focused this week on doing what we do well. We just wanted the girls to go out and do their best.”

The second set was a different story.  The Cougars and the Pilots battled at the net, with senior outside hitter Christie Carpenter taking charge of the BYU offense.  Her perfect placement was too much for the Pilots’ defense and the set ended with an eight-point lead for the Cougars.

“Defense was our main goal this week and we have been working on it for a really long time,” Carpenter said. “Defense wins volleyball games, it really does.”

After the break, the Pilots came out a different team, making all of the right plays.  BYU was able to tie the set multiple times, but Portland’s momentum carried them throughout the set.

“After a few missed serves and a few aces by [Portland] we were just unable to recover,” Olmstead said.

A well-played third set by the Pilots kept their hopes of winning the match alive.  However, the Cougars would not back down and jumped out to an early four-point lead. Solid serving and passing set up the hitters for success and BYU finished off the Pilots.

“We knew that they played a spread block,” Carpenter said, “and we knew we would have success if we played it in the middle.”

Carpenter slammed a season-high 20 kills. Just behind her was sophomore opposite hitter Jennifer Hamson, who contributed 16 kills and 10 digs.  Junior setter Heather Hannemann had yet another solid game, putting up 45 assists, and junior libero Kendalyn Hartsock finished with 18 digs.

“We were passing really well,” Carpenter said. “Heather [Hannemann] was distributing it really well so she made it easy because she was setting it so perfect.”

The Cougars will remain on the road, taking on Gonzaga (7-11) on Monday before returning home on Thursday to compete with a tough ranked Pepperdine squad.

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