No. 11 BYU was able to overcome a slow start to sweep Gonzaga (25-22, 25-17, 25-13) in its first WCC match of the year.
“I was impressed with (our) composure to be able to be down five or six points in the first set and just kind of whittle away and little by little got back in control of the match,” Coach Shawn Olmstead said. “Our block, once it got going, kind of turned the match.”
Olmstead called a timeout with BYU (10-2, 1-0) down 22-20 to Gonzaga (9-3, 0-1) in the first set. The Cougars responded to go on a 5-0 run led by a kill from Alexa Gray and a service ace from Camry Godfrey Willardson to help BYU win the first set 25-22.
Gonzaga got off to a fast start in the first set by taking a 10-5 lead over BYU, forcing the Cougars to take a timeout. BYU responded by going on a 6-1 run to time the setup at 11-11. BYU was able to take its first lead of the match at 13-12. The Bulldogs and Cougars then traded points until Gonzaga took a 22-20 lead with a kill by McKayla Ferris.
The Cougars brought their momentum into the second set by taking an 11-6 lead after a combined block by Amy Boswell and Gray. BYU kept on rolling and extended its lead to 22-14 after a kill by Gray. The Cougars won the second set 25-17 on a kill by Jennifer Hamson. Gray led the Cougars with six kills in the second set, and Tambre Nobles added five kills herself.
BYU didn’t cool off after the break by jumping off to a lead of 11-3. The Cougars never let up, as they won the third set easily 25-13. BYU had 12 kills and six team blocks in the third set.
Hamson led the way for BYU with 10 kills, two service aces and six blocks. Gray added 11 kills, and Nobles had an impressive match with eight kills and 11 digs. Whitney Young led the blocking effort for the Cougars with eight, and Boswell added seven blocks herself. Willardson had 30 assists to help BYU extend its winning streak to five.
BYU stays at home to play Portland this Saturday, Sept. 27, at 1 p.m. (MDT) at the Smith Fieldhouse. The match will be televised live on BYUtv and can be streamed live on byutv.org.