The Cougars came out swinging in their home opener against Montana State, taking the game in only three sets (25-15, 25-19, 25-10). This was BYU’s fifth win of the year, and its home winning streak of the season continues.
“I thought we had a really nice team effort,” said head coach Shawn Olmstead. “Even in the second set when our girls were tested a little bit by Montana we stayed fairly composed.”
Sophomore Alexa Gray and junior Tambre Haddock were strong, consistent hitters on the outside. Haddock had a total of 17 kills, freshman Whitney Young recorded 6 blocks, Tia Weeling had 17 digs and setter Camry Godfrey had 40 assists.
“Whitney Young did very well. No major offensive numbers, but doing a great job defensively, getting her hands up, and we are really happy with her play,” Olmstead said.
In the second set, the Cougars let the Bobcats hang with them, keeping the score close for a majority of the set. Sophomore Ciara Parker changed the momentum of the game in the end after a great dig out of the back row. The momentum carried the Cougars into the third set.
BYU held a comfortable lead in the third set but tried to avoid overconfidence. The players used this lead to shine light on its big hitters as they killed the ball over from the outside, right side and even the back row.
“We need to find our comfort zone and remain aggressive and not get intimidated,” Haddock said. “The team found their comfort zone tonight and did not let Montana creep back up on them.”
The Cougars wrapped up the third set 25-10 and finished the match, leaving the Bobcats in the dust. The Bobcats could not defensively stop outside hitters Gray and Haddock.
As the Cougars look forward from this win, they begin to prepare for the match against UC Irvine. BYU coaches have instilled a mindset in the players that the only match they should focus on is the next one.
“We always take one game at a time because that’s the most important one,” Gray said.
This week the Cougars focused on Montana State. With a win under their belt they can now prepare for Thursday’s match.
BYU women’s volleyball will play its last non-conference match against UC Irvine on Thursday, September 12, at 7 p.m. in the Smith Fieldhouse. The game will be televised nationally on BYUtv.