No. 11 BYU extended its winning streak to six by fighting off some sloppy play in a sweep over Portland (25-16, 25-22, 25-21).
“I didn’t like the ups and downs in the match,” BYU coach Shawn Olmstead said. “We lost a little too much focus. The stats don’t show that, but we as coaches … we got to address it. We had too many errors, and we weren’t very clean on our side.”
BYU (11-2, 2-0 WCC) got off to a hot start in the first set by taking a taking a 13-5 lead, which forced Portland (5-8, 0-2 WCC) to take a timeout.The Cougars kept the pressure on the Pilots and extended the lead to 10 at 21-11 after back-to-back blocks from Jennifer Hamson and Tambre Nobles. The Cougars were able to close out the set to win 25-16 to take a one-set-to-zero lead.
The Pilots responded in the second set by taking their first lead of the match at 4-3. BYU and Portland traded points before an Amy Boswell kill sparked a 4-0 run, giving BYU a 15-12 lead. The Pilots fought back to tie the set up at 19-19. The Cougars went on a 6-3 run led by a kill from Hamson and two kills from Boswell and fought off some sloppy play to take the second set 25-22.
“We just decided to turn around our energy and just pick it up,” Hamson said of the Cougars’ effort after a slow start in the second set. “We just dug deep and decided to put some balls away, which helped.”
The Cougars and the Pilots were even to start the third set. Tied at 5-5 in the set, BYU and Portland rallied back and forth many times before Camry Godfrey Willardson won the point with a diving one-hand kill. The Cougars went on a 4-0 run to take a 9-5 lead. The Cougars extended their lead to six at 16-10, but the Pilots fought back and went on a 4-0 run to close the gap to two at 16-14. Olmstead was forced to call a timeout, and the Cougars went on a 3-1 run thanks to a kill from Hamson and Alexa Gray. BYU was able to close out the match by taking the third set 25-21.
BYU was led by Hamson with 15 blocks and six digs. Gray added 12 kills, Nobles had eight kills, and Boswell had six kills and four blocks. Willardson led the Cougars with a game-high 31 assists.
BYU hits the road on Tuesday, Sept. 30, to play Pepperdine at 6 p.m. (PST). The game is available to watch on ESPNU.