“One more, let’s go,” senior Heather Hannemann said to her teammates as San Francisco prepared to serve the match point for the Cougars. The Cougars had taken the first two sets against the Dons but had lost the third. They were up by three in the fourth set and needed one more point to win the match.
The serve went up and was received by the Cougars. An assist from Hannemann allowed freshman Kimberly Dahl to put the ball away with a kill, ending the match with a 3-1 victory for the Cougars.
Dahl said winning against San Francisco was due to the Cougars teamwork.
“Our team came together really well, especially in the fourth set,” Dahl said. “We made a decision that we wanted to win, so we came out and played like we wanted to win, and it came together.”
The No. 16 BYU women’s volleyball team beat San Francisco Saturday night, improving their West Coast Conference record to 6-1 and 18-1 overall. The Cougars dropped their first set at home against the Dons but remain undefeated on their home court.
Head Coach Shawn Olmstead said he was happy about the win, but he was disappointed because the Cougars were not playing their best against the Dons.
“San Francisco’s a good team, and I knew that coming into this match,” Olmstead said. “They have a great record, and they’ve had some big wins. I don’t think we were ourselves, to be honest. We had too many errors on our side, so that hurt us.”
BYU took the lead early in the first set of the night only to have San Francisco catch back up at 6-6. Led by senior Nicole Warner with a kill, the Cougars took off in a three-point run and held the lead for the rest of the set. A kill by freshman Alexa Gray closed the first set 25-18 for the Cougars.
The second set played out similarly, with an early tied score and a kill by Dahl to give the Cougars the lead once again. Never allowing the Dons to catch back up, the Cougars took the set 25-14.
Coming into the third set in full force, the Dons held the lead against the Cougars through five tied scores. Despite multiple kills from Warner and Gray, the Cougars were not able to overpower the Dons and lost the third set 25-20.
Hannemann said coming into the fourth set she was determined to have a strong start against the Dons.
“I just wanted to get on them right at the beginning,” Hannemann said. “I wanted to come into that next game and forget about that last game and get the momentum early and put it on them in the fourth.”
The fourth set opened up rough for the Cougars, but a six-point run helped the team catch up and take the lead against the Dons, the first lead change of the night. San Francisco came within two points of BYU’s score, but the Cougars fought hard and took the set 25-21, ending the match.
Dahl said San Francisco was a great team and the Cougars had to work hard to beat them.
“They’re phenomenal, and they’re super scrappy,” Dahl said. “They get so many balls up, and it’s hard because we have to be super creative and mix up our shots because they dig everything. It puts more pressure on us, but as our coaches said we are a better team, and I believe that.”
Gray and Warner led the Cougars with 12 kills each, followed by Dahl and junior Jennifer Hamson with 10 kills each. Hamson and Hannemann contributed 12 digs, and sophomore Tia Withers gave the Cougars 17 digs. Hannemann also contributed 40 assists and held the highest hitting average of the night at .750.
As a team the Cougars had 58 digs, 55 kills and four service aces. Hannemann said a key part of the match for the Cougars was their serving.
“We came out, and we really put it on them serving,” Hannemann said. “That was one of our game plans: to get on them serving so they would have trouble passing it and getting it going. We definitely could have had a little more fight, but we were proud of tonight, and overall it was a very good win.”
Next Thursday the Cougars will take on Saint Mary’s at the Smith Fieldhouse at 7 p.m.