BYU women’s volleyball wins fifth consecutive Deseret Duel

Ari Davis
Camry Godfrey Willardson celebrates after winning a poin in the game against OSU. The Cougars beat the Utes Thursday night (Ari Davis)

The No. 9 BYU women’s volleyball team (9-1) swept the Utah Utes (6-5) in three straight sets to win a fifth consecutive Deseret Duel. With this win, the Cougars improve to a 69-29 overall mark against the Utes.

“It’s so great to see so many people come out on a Thursday night to support college volleyball,” BYU head coach Heather Olmstead said. “We try and put pressure on teams with our serve. We want to get teams out of system so that our block can take over. We’re just trying to serve tough to make the other team uncomfortable, and that’s what happened tonight.”

Leading the way for the cougars tonight were middle blockers Amy Boswell and Whitney Young Howard. Boswell had seven kills on a .583 clip while Howard had a team high 11 blocks. Alexa Gray added a team high 11 digs and Alohi Robins-Hardy collected 21 assists with Ciara Parker contributing 11 digs.

The Cougars easily picked up the first two sets. In fact the Cougars never trailed in the 25-16 and 25-18 wins.

The Utes and Cougars traded points to start the first set until the score was 9-7. Then, a Cougar opposite Cosy Burnett kill sent the Cougars on a run and the Utes never got within three again. After back-to-back blocks by Howard, the Cougars went up 18-10. They finished the set 25-16 on a Boswell kill.

In the second set, a Cosy Burnett service ace gave the Cougars a 3-1 advantage. However, the Utes battled back till they were within one at 4-3. Then, a Boswell kill sent the Cougars on a run. BYU went on a 6-2 run before the Utes started trading points with the Cougars. Despite that, a Howard block extended the Cougar lead to seven, 19-12, Utah battled back with a few late runs to put them within six, 23-17. However, two kills from Gray sealed the deal.

Unlike the first two sets, Utah took an early 3-1 lead to start the third set. BYU battled back and an ace from Boswell gave the Cougars their first lead of the set, 5-4. Then, a Cougar defensive struggle gave way to a 6-2 Ute run. Not to be defeated, the Cougars put up a 4-0 run to bring the score to within one, 12-11. Utah broke that streak with a 7-1 run to make the score 19-12. This is where the BYU comeback magic continued. Camry Godfrey Willardson set up a Boswell kill that inspired the Cougars to an 8-2 run, pulling within one, 21-20. A block from Burnett and Howard put the Cougars up one, 23-22. Rattled from the comeback, the Utes made two consecutive service errors that ended the match in a 25-22 win for the Cougars.

The Cougars continue action on the road Saturday at 7 p.m. MDT when they travel to the UCCU Center to face Utah Valley. The match will be broadcast live on the WAC Digital Network.


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