BYU women's volleyball wins third tournament

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[media-credit name=”Whitnie Soelberg” align=”alignright” width=”199″][/media-credit]
Freshman Alexa Gray goes for a kill against rival University of Utah
The BYU women’s volleyball team won the BYU Nike Invitational this weekend with 3-0 sweeps against Utah, Bowling Green and Portland State.

This invitational became the Cougars third tournament win of the preseason and expanded their winning streak to 9-0.

Head coach Shawn Olmstead said it was a big positive for the girls to be able to play in front of their families and fans and win the home tournament.

The tournament opened Friday night against BYU’s rival, the University of Utah.  The stands were packed and the crowd was on its feet cheering as the Cougars conquered their way through three sets, winning the match 3-0.

Junior Jennifer Hamson led the team with 16 kills and an impressive hitting average of .625. Following close behind were freshman Alexa Gray with 13 kills and junior Jessica Jardine with 11 kills.  Junior Kathryn LeCheminant held an impressive hitting average of .444 and contributed five kills. Senior Heather Hannemann also helped the team throughout the match with 39 assists.

The win against Utah gave BYU the women’s volleyball Deseret Duel trophy and tied them 3-3 with Utah in the Deseret Duel series.

Olmstead said the team played well and he was happy about taking down their rival.

“It’s always exciting to beat Utah,” Olmstead said. “So that makes it a little more sweet and enjoyable.”

Gray said she had been looking forward to the atmosphere she hoped the crowed would bring to the BYU Invitational this past weekend and was happy with the turnout.

“The crowd was awesome,” Gray said. “It really brought up our energy and helped us work harder. It’s just fun to have around and be around.”

Saturday afternoon the Cougars took on Bowling Green, and without dropping a set, added another win to their undefeated record.

Senior Nicole Warner aided the team on defense with nine blocks and freshman Ciara Parker came up big with 10 digs. Hamson and Gray contributed a combined total of 16 digs and Hannemann gave the team 27 assists.

The BYU women’s volleyball team played their last match of the tournament Saturday night against Portland State and won with another 3-0 sweep, their sixth of the preseason. The last set of the night was a close battle but the Cougars pulled through, closing the match with a score of 25-20, 25-21, 28-26.

Warner said Portland was a good team but the Cougars took it in strides and kept attacking them to secure the win.

“At the end it was close, but we definitely came out on top because we were able to keep our composure,” Warner said. “We put it away and that’s all it takes.”

At the close of the tournament Hannemann and Gray were named to the all-tournament team and Hamson was given the BYU Nike Invitational MVP title.

The Cougars will close their preseason at the George Washington Invitational on Friday Sept. 14 and Saturday Sept. 15 in Washington, D.C. They will go up against New Hampshire, Princeton and George Washington.

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