The BYU women’s volleyball team came out strong this weekend with a win (25-22, 25-17, 25-17) against tournament host Portland State Friday night.
“This was a great match for us to start the weekend,” Head Coach Shawn Olmstead said. “I felt we played a complete match and were fairly consistent the entire three sets.”
Sophomore Alexa Gray was a key component in this match leading BYU to their third victory of the season. Gray totaled 13 kills with just one error on 33 attempts to hit .364 in the victory. Much of the credit also goes to freshman Whitney Young with key blocks in the middle. Young came out with confidence as this was her first time starting for the Cougars.
“We worked on what we were trying to improve on,” Gray said. “I thought that we really passed well, and that we felt more disciplined in this match.”
The Cougars won their third straight match of the season (27-25, 25-13, 25-16) against Fresno State on Saturday. Junior outside hitter Tambre Haddock led this victory with 11 kills on 23 attempts to hit .348 to go with ten digs in the victory. Haddock gave the Cougars their largest lead of the first set at 22-18.
BYU held a nine-point lead in the second set from kills by Haddock, Jessica Jardine and Kathryn LeCheminant. The Cougars maintained this lead and easily took the set 25-13.
“Today was a good win against a good opponent,” Olmstead said after their Fresno State victory. “Our blocking was very strong and disciplined. (Young) was aggressive defensively and Kathryn, Tambre and Jessica did a nice job offensively.”
The Cougars tournament success came to an end Saturday night (25-22, 25-14, 23-25, 22-25, 12-15) against Big 12 foe Oklahoma. The long five set match taught BYU a valuable lesson.
“A tough lesson on the road,” Olmstead said. “We have to keep the pressure on our opponents when we have those leads.”
BYU started off strong in the first two sets and proved unstoppable for Oklahoma. However, in the last three sets the Cougars could not find a way to come out on top. Both teams played fairly consistently and were tied in the fifth and final set 12-12. The Sooners then closed out the match 15-12 and scored three-straight points.
“We need to fix a few things and make some adjustments,” Senior outside hitter Jessica Jardine said. “I think we worked well in the first two sets, but we did things differently in the last three.”
Haddock said the Cougars improved despite the loss and it will help them in the long run.
“We’re learning and making improvements,” Junior Tambre Haddock said. “Overall, it was a success because we got a lot better than we did last weekend. We’ll take what we learned and use it next week against our opponents.”
Now the Cougars switch gears and focus on their next match and first home game on Sept. 10 at 7 p.m. BYU will face out-of-conference opponent Montana State in the Smith Fieldhouse.