Volleyball takes down the Dons

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In a four-game match, the BYU women’s volleyball team won its fourth straight after defeating the San Francisco Dons on Saturday night.

The 25-23, 25-14, 19-25, 25-22 win was the Cougars’ second over the Dons this season.

“It was a good [match], especially sets one and two,” coach Shawn Olmstead said. “Set three was not so good, but we battled out there.”

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Jennifer Hamson, left, and Nicole Warner, 15, block a San Francisco player during Saturday night's game in the Smith Fieldhouse.
It started off a little slow for the Cougars (20-7, 9-4 ) in the first set, but the players quickly regrouped and took control of the lead for the remainder of the game. The Cougars looked as if they had the first set wrapped up when they went up 19-12 after a team block by sophomore opposite hitter Jennifer Hamson and junior middle blocker Nicole Warner. However, the Dons (13-12, 5-7) scored five straight points to put them back in the game. BYU was up 24-23 until Hamson finished off the game with a kill.

“They are the best digging team in the conference and we out dug them by 10,” Olmstead said. “Some of our coverage could have been better, but getting it off the ground is what is important.”

Momentum was on the Cougars’ side from the very beginning of the second game. BYU jumped out to a 10-4 lead, forcing San Francisco to call a timeout and make adjustments. The Dons’ defense was unable to stop Warner and senior outside hitter Christie Carpenter as they consistently attacked the net. San Francisco was never able to get into a rhythm on offense and fell to the Cougars.

Following the break, the Dons came out playing like a different team.

“San Francisco came out hard and they were serving really well and got us out of system,” Carpenter said. “We got into some funks, but it showed our true heart to pull it out.”

The Cougars only had two team blocks the entire set, and the Dons took advantage of BYU’s eight errors. There was a moment where BYU looked as if it was going to make a comeback after back-to-back tips by Carpenter and junior setter Heather Hannemann; however, the Dons refused to surrender the lead and won the third game.

“I think we lost our focus a little bit and just come out thinking that maybe we have it in the bag, but we have to get out of that thought process,” Carpenter said. “We just have to start coming out harder than we do the first two games.”

By the fourth set, both teams had found a rhythm and went back and forth trading momentum. The Cougars had the crowd on their feet for most of the fourth game. It was a kill by Hamson that ended the set.

BYU was led by Hamson, who finished with 20 kills, while Carpenter had 14 and both Casey Thurston and Kathryn LeCheminant finished with 10. Hannemann had 55 assists on the night, and junior libero Kendalyn Hartsock had 20 digs. The Cougars finished the match with 12 team digs.

BYU plays Saint Mary’s on Thursday in California. This will be the third time the Cougars and the Gaels have faced each other this season. Saint Mary’s swept BYU in the first match, and the Cougars returned the favor in their second meeting.

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