The BYU women’s volleyball team swiftly eased by the Saint Mary’s Gaels in three sets (25-15, 25-15, 25-13) to improve its record to 20-4 (11-2 in WCC play).
“I was impressed; we did well,” said head coach Shawn Olmstead. “We’ve been working on some things, and I saw some definite improvement. Our defense behind the block was really good, our ball control was really good; overall I was really impressed.”
The first set started off with each team going on scoring runs. BYU started off the match with a 6-0 run led by kills from Alexa Gray. Saint Mary’s then went on a 5-0 of its own to cut the deficit to one. The Cougars responded by going on a 5-0 run again, led by a kill and a block from Whitney Young. With the Cougars leading 11-5, the teams then traded points; then the Gaels started to inch their way back into the set and closed their deficit to three at 16-13. BYU went on a 9-2 run to end the set, led by Tia Withers Welling, who had two aces.
BYU and Saint Mary’s started off the second set by trading points. With the Cougars up 10-8, BYU went on a 5-0 run after a kill from Amy Boswell, a kill from Gray and an ace from Ciara Parker. The Cougars continued to extend their lead and took the second set easily 25-15. Jennifer Hamson led the Cougars in the second set with seven kills.
Saint Mary’s took the first point of the third set, taking its first lead of the match. The lead was short lived, as the Cougars took a 2-1 lead after back-to-back kills. The two teams traded points to bring the set to 6-6. BYU then went on yet another 5-0 run that was capped off with a kill from Hamson and an ace from Young. The Cougars extended their lead to 10 after they went on a 6-0 run that consisted of two straight kills from Hamson, three straight kills from Tambre Nobles and an ace from Hamson. BYU then cruised to the victory, taking the third set 25-13.
Hamson led the Cougars with 12 kills, five digs and an impressive .625 hitting percentage. Gray had 13 kills and four blocks, and Camry Godfrey Willardson had 30 assists, nine digs and four kills. The Cougars had 42 kills overall and a hitting percentage of .340.
BYU stays at home on Saturday to face off against the second-place team in the WCC, the Pacific Tigers, at 1 p.m. (MDT) in the Smith Fieldhouse. The match will be televised and available for streaming online through BYUtv.