The BYU women’s volleyball team says goodbye to its WCC undefeated title after a long five-set loss to Saint Mary’s (25-23, 25-23, 12-25, 22-25, 11-15).
“Tough loss to Saint Mary’s tonight,” said head coach Shawn Olmstead. “Hats off to them for making adjustments and pushing us. We can learn from this and get better.”
Junior Tambre Haddock led BYU in kills this match with 16 on 58 attempts and added nine digs. A close second and third were sophomore Alexa Gray with 14 kills and senior Jessica Jardine with 10 kills. On defense, senior Kathryn LeCheminant and freshman Whitney Young led with six blocks each and sophomore libero Ciara Parker with 19 digs.
The first couple point of the fifth set came from Gray kills on the outside. The teams then took turns holding a slight lead until the Gaels fought ahead 11-8, forcing BYU into a timeout. Saint Mary’s held the momentum and rode with it, defeating the Cougars in the tie-breaking set 15-11.
Haddock started the match off with a service ace, but neither team could seem to hold an early lead. BYU then went on a run and held a four-point lead 13-9 after a strong kill from Gray. The run didn’t stop there, and the Cougars held a six-point lead at 18-12, forcing the Gaels into a timeout. BYU couldn’t be stopped this late in the game however and took the first set 25-23.
The two squads traded points in the second set, and the first BYU lead came at 12-9 after three consecutive points. Haddock had a pair of kills to extend the lead 17-12. Saint Mary’s came back with a fight to close the gap at 24-22 but were unable to stop the Cougars who took the second set 25-23.
BYU started the third set off confidently with an immediate ace from Godfrey. Roles reversed, however, when the Cougars struggled to stop their offense and the Gaels pulled ahead 6-2. Saint Mary’s did not back down, holding a nine-point advantage at 18-9, and easily took the third set 25-12.
Carrying the momentum from set three, the Gaels had something to prove and took an early 5-2 lead. BYU tied the game at 7-7 after a successful block from Jardine and LeCheminant and continued to tie the game until point 21. Saint Mary’s took the lead 23-21 and pushed the last two points to win the fourth set 25-22, which sent the match into a fifth-game tiebreaker.
BYU now returns home to the Smithfield house to play Loyola Marymount on Oct. 31 at 7 p.m. MDT.