BYU swept by Santa Clara, bounces back to defeat San Francisco

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BYU woman's volleyball team celebrating a win earlier this season. (The Universe)
BYU’s women’s volleyball team celebrating a win earlier this season. (The Universe)

No. 11 BYU lost in three sets (25-14, 25-20, 25-15) Thursday night when it went on the road to face Santa Clara but bounced back Saturday to sweep San Francisco (25-20, 26-24, 25-14).

Santa Clara bounced out to a quick lead in the first set by taking a 7-1 lead. The Cougars were able to fight back and bring their deficit to three at 9-6 after kills from Alexa Gray and Jennifer Hamson. The Broncos went on a couple of mini-runs to put them up 10 at 23-13, and they closed out the set at 25-14 with two kills.

The Broncos jumped out to a quick 5-0 lead in the second set. Santa Clara kept a comfortable cushion over BYU until 19-13, when the Cougars went on a 6-0 run to bring the score to 19-18. The Broncos and Cougars traded points until Santa Clara went on a 3-0 to close the set out at 25-21.

With the Cougars down two sets they looked to rebound in the third. The two teams started off the third by trading points. BYU wasn’t able to hang with the Broncos as they went on several mini-runs to take the third set and match easily at 25-15. Santa Clara handed BYU its first sweep loss since 2011.

“We were completely outmatched tonight,” BYU head coach Shawn Olmstead said. “Hats off to Santa Clara. We’ve got to find a way to turn it around for Saturday’s match.”

The Cougars looked to rebound against San Francisco on Saturday. The first set started off even with the Cougars and Dons trading points. The Dons took a small edge at 10-8, but the Cougars went on a 7-2 run to take a three-point lead. San Francisco fought back and tied the game up at 20-20. BYU ended the set strong at 5-0 run led by a kill from Amy Boswell and an ace from Ciara Parker.

The third set was a back-and-forth battle with neither team taking more than a three-point lead. With the score tied at 23-23 Gray had an attacking error giving the Dons a match point. Gray redeemed herself with back-to-back kills to give BYU a match point at 25-24. BYU finished the set with an ace from Boswell, giving it a two-sets-to-none advantage.

The Cougars jumped out to a commanding 11-1 lead in the third set thanks to a couple kills from Gray and some sloppy play from the Dons. BYU never eased up as it took the third set easily 25-14 and completed the sweep over the Dons.

“I was very impressed by our ability to bounce back after a tough loss,” BYU head coach Shawn Olmstead said. “The girls played each point today. It was an outstanding team effort.”

Gray led the Cougars with 10 kills, Hamson adding nine kills and nine blocks. Camry Godfrey Willardson added 32 assists, and Parker had nine digs. Boswell led BYU with 10 blocks.

BYU returns home next week as it takes on Saint Mary’s Thursday at 7 p.m. (MDT) and Pacific on Saturday at 1 p.m. (MDT). Both games will be televised on BYUtv.