Cougar V-Ball falls to WCC’s leader

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The BYU women’s volleyball team played hard but not hard enough against the West Coast Conference leaders, No. 17 Pepperdine. BYU (16-6, 5-3) took the match to four sets, but Pepperdine (14-5, 8-0) came out on top 1-3 (25-22, 18-25, 22-25, 19-25).

“I really think we played well,” sophomore middle blocker Kathryn LeCheminant said. “It just didn’t go our way.”

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BYU outside hitter Christie Carpenter makes a pass during Thursday's game against Pepperdine at the Smith Fieldhouse. BYU lost 1-3.

The first set was a roller coaster ride for the Cougars, leading by as much as eight at one point late in the match. A series of Pepperdine kills enabled the Waves to get right back in it. However, senior opposite hitter Christie Carpenter would lead the Cougars down the stretch making two big plays to finish off the set with a win — the team’s only win of the night.

“We got a good lead,” coach Shawn Olmstead said, “but little by little they got right back in and got some momentum and we could not keep it through the second, third and fourth set.”

The Waves were not ready to be calmed and left it all out on the court in the second set.

Pepperdine jumped out to an early 12-5 leaving it up to the Cougars to play catch-up. BYU capitalized on Pepperdine errors and turned the set around. The Pepperdine defense went to work with consecutive blocks and put the Cougars in a difficult spot offensively, but the Waves managed to make plays at the end of the set to defeat BYU.

“We started out on fire our first set,” LeCheminant said. “We just need to work on staying consistent and putting the game away.”

It was a battle at the net in the third set from the beginning.

The Cougars led the set, then Pepperdine led the set. The Cougars had the momentum, then Pepperdine took it back. BYU hit it down Pepperdine’s throats, but the Waves returned the favor. Pepperdine found a way to slow BYU down, going up by five until sophomores LeCheminant and Jennifer Hamson attacked the net giving the Waves a run for their money. Despite an exciting comeback, the Waves found a way to put a stop to the Cougars momentum and narrowly escaped with a three point victory.

“Every single game we got right back in it, but that killer mentality was missing,” Olmstead said. “It just felt like we were on our heels most of the night.”

The fourth set was the last of the match. The Cougars never let up but were still beat in the final set.

Leading the Cougars was junior setter Heather Hannemann with 36 assists and eight digs. Hamson had 17 kills, and outside hitters Carpenter and Katie Vaughn both had 10. The Cougars ended up with nine total team blocks in the 3-1 loss.

“We stayed together as a team, we fought hard and we gave it everything we had,” LeCheminant said. “I think we left everything on the floor.”

The Cougars are set to play the University of San Diego Toreros on Saturday at 7 p.m. in the Smith Fieldhouse. The No. 16 Toreros (21-1) beat the Cougars 3-0 in their last match-up.

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