Cougars too much for the Dons

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A four-set match ensued last night between the BYU women’s volleyball team and the San Francisco Dons. It was the first matchup between the WCC teams, and both squads had a 5-4 record going into the match.

But it was the Cougars (17-7, 6-4) that beat out the Dons (13-10, 5-5) for the third-place spot, defeating them 3-1 (25-19, 25-14, 23-25, 25-23).

“I was excited for the girls’ chance to make good after the losses to San Diego and Pepperdine last week,” coach Shawn Olmstead said. “We had to re-group and go out and play our game.”

The Cougars started out slow at the beginning of the first set allowing San Francisco control the game. After back-to-back kills by senior outside hitter Christie Carpenter, the Dons made a few errors allowing the Cougars to steal the momentum. BYU led 21-15 and the set looked as if it was coming to a close, but San Francisco was not ready to quit. The Dons had three straight kills, and then a Cougar error put the Dons back in the running. But the Cougar offense got it together and the Dons were unable to finish, which put BYU up 1-0.

“We needed to make sure our passing was on,” Carpenter said. “Since we passed well, Heather [Hannemann] was able to distribute the ball well and we knew their defense was a bit jumpy so we got all our hitters involved.”

It was a strong start for BYU in the second set. The Cougars led the entire game and never gave the Dons a chance to catch up. BYU led by as many as 11 points and finished off the set winning by 11. Kills by Carpenter and junior middle blocker Nicole Warner gave the Cougars the edge they needed to go up 2-0.

“Our defense was incredible tonight,” Carpenter said. “We have been working on it a lot in practice and it paid off.”

BYU started the third set like it did the second, and it appeared as if the Cougars had a victory; however, San Francisco was not ready to surrender on its home court. Four attack errors in a row by the Dons put the Cougars up 12-8, but Valentina Zaloznik came up big for San Francisco and five kills to boost the Dons’ offense. It came down to the wire and San Francisco made the necessary plays to beat BYU by two.

The fourth set was the final set of the match. The Cougars finished off the Dons 25-23 in a nail-biting game.

Sophomore opposite hitter Jennifer Hamson had a tremendous match behind the service line with five aces.

“The serving was a lot better this match,” Olmstead said. “They had more misses than us and we had a few good aces tonight.”

Junior libero Kendalyn Hartsock had 31 digs and freshman Tia Withers had 17 of her own. Junior setter Heather Hannemann had 41 assists, and Carpenter finished the match with 16 kills.

“[San Francisco] is the best defensive team in the conference, so it was nice to see our offensive efforts in practice showed in the match,” Olmstead said.

 

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