Women’s volleyball: Cougars too much for Bulldogs

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To finish off a four-game road trip, the BYU Women’s volleyball team beat Gonzaga 3-1 (25-23, 25-8, 25-27, 25-19)  in last night’s match. BYU (16-5) only had two days in between matches but managed to maintain the momentum from this weekend’s match to defeat Gonzaga (7-12).

“We didn’t practice or watch film on Sunday, but we still had enough time to prepare for tonight’s match,” coach Shawn Olmstead said. “We got up in the morning and watched film, then practiced and the girls were very prepared for the match.”

The first set started off with a kill by junior setter Heather Hannemann, but neither team would dominate the set. The battled continued until the bitter end where neither team ever led by more than four points. The set ended with a pair of Bulldog errors and would propel the Cougars to win the first set.

Unlike the first set, the Bulldogs came out unable to stop the BYU offense and were steam-rolled by the Cougar’s hitting. The Cougars led the entire set and wrapped up the 17 point demolishing without ever letting up.

“We started out really strong,” sophomore opposite hitter Jennifer Hamson said. “Our passing was really good, so Heather could dish it and we were able to hit. It was a lot of fun.”

Following the break, the Bulldogs stepped on the court with a different mentality. The scoring went back and forth, until two vital kills by Gonzaga would end the set.

“They came out strong,” Hamson said, “and we had to battle with them.”

Despite losing in the third set, the Cougars came out and finished off the Bulldogs in the fourth.

Senior outside hitter Christie Carpenter led the team in kills for the second match in a row with 17. Hamson followed with 16, junior middle blocker Nicole Warner had 11 and freshman outside hitter Katie Vaughn had 8. Hannemann made the Cougar hitting game possible by putting up 54 assists.

“[Gonzaga] played well,” Olmstead said. “I’m happy we were put in that spot because we had to battle and it means something to come back the next set and win.”

Despite having a 1-7 record in conference play, Olmstead said Gonzaga always plays hard and battles at the net.

“They’re record is not indicative of how good they really are,” he said. “Gonzaga does have a good program even though their record says otherwise.”

The Cougars return home this week for the first time since Oct. 6. BYU faces the WCC leader, Pepperdine, at 7 p.m. on Thursday night in the Smith Fieldhouse.

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