Women’s volleyball outlasts Utah in five sets

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BYU women’s volleyball battled in five sets and claimed a victory (25-23, 17-25, 25-14, 20-25, 15-12) against in-state rival University of Utah. The Cougars left the Huntsman Center gladly handing Utah its first loss of the season.

“It was a gutsy win for us,” said BYU head coach Shawn Olmstead. “Hats off to Utah for a great match. We need to keep working on our serve and pass. I felt that broke down too much at times. This was a team win and showed a lot of heart from all of our members. Hats off to our staff; they prepped us well.”

BYU volleyball players celebrate their five set win against Uah on Tuesday. Photo by Bella Torgerson; courtesy BYU Photo
BYU volleyball players celebrate their five-set win against Utah on Tuesday. (Photo by Bella Torgerson; courtesy BYU Photo)

BYU and Utah kept the score consistent and close in the first set, and neither team proved to be dominant. After 18 ties, the Cougars won set point (25-23) off a kill from junior outside hitter Tambre Haddock.

Set two started off strong for Utah with a 7-2 lead against BYU. A pattern of Cougar attack errors and service errors paved the way for the Utes to even the match at a set apiece.

Set three started off strong for BYU with an almost constant four-point lead. Kills from freshman Amy Boswell and sophomore Alexa Gray widened the Cougars’ advantage and eventually led to a 25-14 win.

Utah fired back in the fourth set and quickly gained an 11-2 lead holding a consistent 10-point advantage. Not ready to give up yet, the Cougars fought back with a run of attacks and aces, providing the Utes with a less comfortable four-point lead 24-20.

BYU’s run took place too late in the set, and Utah took the fourth 25-20. However, the final push at the end of the fourth set carried over, as the Cougars stayed on the offensive in the final set.

“After the fourth set we had some momentum,” Gray said. “At the end of the set we got some points and fed off of that. That really played well into the fifth set.”

BYU took a three-point lead at 11-8 after a Utah ball-handling error. Utah quickly tightened the gap, coming within two points of BYU at 13-11, Boswell successfully jumped up for the outside kill, ending the five-set match 15-12.

“In this game today we were able to get our momentum back,” said junior outside hitter Hannah Robison. “If we can figure out to keep that momentum going while playing San Diego, I think we’ll be unstoppable.”

BYU resumes play in the Smith Fieldhouse on Friday, Sept. 20, for their WCC home opener against nationally ranked number two San Diego. The match will be televised nationally on BYUtv.

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