Toreros take down the Cougars

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Another heart-breaking loss took place in the Smith Fieldhouse on Saturday night when the BYU women’s volleyball team faced off against No. 16 San Diego. The Cougars lost 3-1 (25-23, 20-25, 21-25, 17-25) in their second consecutive West Coast Conference loss.

It was another energetic start for the Cougars in the first set, where the team jumped out to an early lead. San Diego made up some ground and challenged BYU throughout the remainder of the set. The Cougars had the Toreros at 24-20 and it looked as if BYU had the set in the bag.

But San Diego did not go out without a fight. The Toreros scored three straight points and put BYU in a do-or-die situation. Following a nice set from junior Heather Hannemann, a kill by senior outside hitter Christie Carpenter quickly stole the Toreros’ hopes of making a comeback.

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BYU opposite hitter Jennifer Hamson hits the ball agaisnt San Diego's Chloe Ferrari and Sandra Lozic during Saturday's game at the Smith Fieldhouse. BYU lost 1-3.
“We really weren’t ourselves,” Hannemann said. “We took the first game and then for some reason we couldn’t stay up. It really wasn’t our BYU team at its best.”

A spark ignited for San Diego, and the team’s offense took over the second set. San Diego gained momentum and a comfortable lead, but BYU didn’t show signs of giving up. Coming off the bench, Casey Thurston, Kimberli Boswell and Camilla Phillips brought a new energy to the floor, and the Cougars responded to it. BYU rallied back but fell short and the set ended in San Diego’s favor.

“I thought we fought hard,” Boswell said. “At times we were down in points but we kept trying to work through that and pull together as a team.”

BYU returned after the break ready to compete; however, San Diego was ready to do the same.

The Cougars and Toreros battled for the lead throughout the entire third set, and it was anybody’s game to win. Unfortunately, BYU was unable to wrap up the third set and fell behind two sets to one.

“For some reason we are not playing our game and we need to figure out how to change that,” BYU coach Shawn Olmstead said. “We have not got it done for two matches now and that’s unfortunate. We have to get back to the way we were playing a week ago.”

The fourth set looked promising for BYU, and the team displayed confidence. The Cougars built up momentum with junior libero Kendalyn Hartsock throwing down an ace, followed by a crowd-pleasing kill by Carpenter and then a block by Boswell and Carpenter. However, the tables turned on BYU, and San Diego once again took control and finished off the match in four sets.

Carpenter led the Cougars in kills with 14 and was closely followed by sophomore opposite hitter Jennifer Hamson who had 13. Hannemann had 36 assists and freshman defensive specialist Tia Withers and Hartsock had nine digs a piece.

“We are going to work hard in practice this week,” Hannemann said. “It is a hard time in the season, but we have to push through it.”

The Cougars are on the road this week and face San Francisco on Thursday and Santa Clara on Saturday. BYU plays their next home match on Nov. 3 against Loyola Marymount.

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