BYU heads to Final Four after wins over Florida State and Nebraska

The BYU women's volleyball team celebrates its Elite Eight victory over Nebraska (BYU Photo)
The BYU women’s volleyball team celebrates its Elite Eight victory over Nebraska (BYU Photo)

The BYU women’s volleyball team continued its impressive run in the NCAA Tournament by defeating Florida State in the Sweet 16 in four sets (25-20, 25-19, 19-25, 26-24) and sweeping Nebraska in the Elite Eight (25-21, 25-20, 25-21).

“First of all, hats off to Nebraska for an outstanding season,” BYU coach Shawn Olmstead said. “Coach Cook has done an outstanding job over there. I can’t say enough about these kids. I don’t have the words to describe what these kids have done. I think Jen brought us here last night, so I think it’s fitting that the other girls stepped it up this match.”

FSU was one point away from forcing the Sweet 16 match to go into a fifth set with a 24-21 lead. The Cougars survived the first set point with a kill by Jennifer Hamson. BYU was then helped out with an attacking error from the Seminoles, which brought the score to 24-23. BYU tied the set after a kill by Tambre Nobles and FSU once again helped BYU with another attacking error and gave the Cougars a match point. Hamson had another kill to give BYU the set at 26-24 and give the Cougars the match after fighting off three set points.

The Cougars were led by Hamson’s career high in kills with 30. She also added 10 digs and five blocks. Alexa Gray added 12 kills herself, and Nobles had seven kills and seven digs. Alohi Robins-Hardy led BYU with 37 assists and 15 digs. Whitney Young and Amy Boswell led BYU’s defensive effort with seven and six blocks, respectively.

BYU then faced off against the Nebraska Cornhuskers in the Elite Eight. BYU and Nebraska started off each set by trading points, but BYU eventually proved to be too much for the Cornhuskers. BYU built a decent lead in the third set at 20-15. Nebraska went on a 3-0 run to close the gap to two, but BYU responded with back-to-back kills to increased its lead to four at 22-18. The two teams then traded points until Gray finished off the set and match with a kill.

Hamson won the title of Most Valuable Player of the All-Region team. Boswell and Gray also made the All-Region team.

This is BYU’s second time ever making it to the Final Four, the first time being in 1993. BYU now faces No. 2 Texas on Thursday, Dec. 18, at 5 p.m. in Oklahoma City. The game will be televised live on ESPN2.

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