No. 9 BYU (7-2) fell to No. 14 Colorado State (9-1) three games to one (23-25, 25-23, 25-20, 28-26) in the opening match of the UTEP/New Mexico State Invitational Sept. 12.
“We made too many errors to compete against a good team like Colorado State,” head coach Shawn Olmstead said. “Hats off to them for the win.”
The Cougars were led by Jennifer Hamson and Hannah Robison, who had 24 and 19 kills, respectively. Camry Godfrey Willardson added 44 assists and 10 digs for BYU in its losing effort in Las Cruces, New Mexico.
BYU jumped off to a fast start in the first set, going up 12-5 early. Both teams traded points before Colorado State was able to close the gap to two at 22-20. Hamson sealed the set with a kill to give BYU a 25-23 first-set win.
Colorado State got its first lead of the match with a 3-2 advantage, but BYU fought back to take a 9-7 lead. The rest of the set went back and forth until the game was tied at 22. The Rams then went on a 3-1 run to win the set at 25-23.
BYU started off the third set with a 6-3 lead. Colorado State then went on a 5-0 run to take a 8-6 lead. The Rams took control of the set and won 25-20.
Colorado State got off to a 4-1 lead in the fourth set. BYU was able to get back into what turned out to be a back-and-forth set. BYU took a 22-19 lead, but Colorado State was able to force extra points and win the set 28-26, which gave the match to the Rams.
After the tough loss, BYU traveled three and a half hours south to El Paso, Texas, to face off against UTEP Friday night. BYU was able to rebound quickly as it rolled passed UTEP (25-17, 25-6, 25-16).
The Cougars were led by Alexa Gray, who had 10 kills on 27 attempts. Amy Boswell had a team-high four blocks, and Willardson had 31 assists. BYU took control of all the sets early and were able to cruise to straight-set victory over UTEP (1-7).
BYU returned to Las Cruces on Saturday afternoon to play New Mexico State (3-5). The Cougars beat the Aggies in straight sets, (25-16, 25-29, 25-21).
Boswell had a team-high six solo blocks, a new BYU record in the rally-scoring era. Whitney Young added nine total blocks, and Hamson had six blocks. Altogether, BYU had 20 total blocks, good for 10th most in BYU history and the most in a three-set match.
“I was impressed with the fight in this group,” Olmstead said. “We weren’t very good offensively, but our defense was unreal. Alohi (Robins-Hardy) did great at sparking our team when we were down. This was a good, tough win.”
The BYU team stays on the road as it travels to Pocatello, Idaho, to take on Idaho State next Tuesday at 7 p.m. (MDT).