BYU volleyball: Cougars win Nike Invitational

By Jared Houghton

For the Deseret News

Published: Saturday, Sept. 8 2012 10:36 p.m. MDT

PROVO — The BYU women’s volleyball team won its third tournament of the season beating Portland State 3-0 (25-20, 25-21, 28-26). The Cougars extended their best start since 2005, improving to 9-0.

Portland State falls to 4-6 on the season.

“The biggest positive is that we won our home tournament,” head coach Shawn Olmstead said. “I thought we served and passed well throughout the tournament and our defense was good. We had a lot of digs, and we just need to be more disciplined on our blocking moving forward to our tournament next weekend.”

Jennifer Hamson was named the BYU Nike Invitational MVP and was joined on the all-tournament team by teammatesHeather Hannemann and Alexa Gray.

Jessica Jardine notched her third double-double of the season with 10 kills and a career-high 15 digs, while Hamson registered her second double-double of the season with 15 kills and 11 digs. Hannemann also had her third double-double of the season with 37 assists and 12 digs. Ciara Parker led the defense with 17 digs.

Megan Ellis led the Vikings with 16 kills and 11 digs.

The opening set was tied at 3-3 before two straight kills by Hamson sparked a 5-0 run bringing the score to 8-3 and causing the Vikings to call a timeout. Portland State fought back, capitalizing on a few Cougar mistakes to bring the score to 18-16. Gray took the momentum back with a kill to spark a 7-4 run to help the Cougars close out the first set. They won the set on a service error by the Vikings.

The second set was dominated by runs. The Cougars jumped out to the early 9-3 lead, led by Hamson’s three kills and an ace. BYU maintained a seven-point lead until Portland State held on defensively and went on a 6-0 run to bring the score to 21-19. The Cougars regained their composure and finished the set on a 4-2 run led by two kills by Hamson.

Similar to the second set, the third set was dominated by runs. The Vikings opened up an early 6-5 lead before Gray started an 8-2 run to put the Cougars in front 13-7 with a strong kill and block. Portland State played tough defense and went on a 13-6 run to regain the lead late in the set at 20-19. BYU went on a 5-1 run to bring the score to 24-21 but couldn’t close out the match as the Vikings fought off four match points. Hamson finished out the set with a kill to win 28-26.

Next week the Cougars travel to Washington D.C. to play in the George Washington Invitational. Their first match will be Friday, Sept. 14 at 5 p.m. EDT against New Hampshire. They will also play Princeton and host George Washington the following day at noon and 7 p.m. EDT, respectively.

Portland State vs. BYU Box Score

Bowling Green vs. Utah In their final match of the BYU Nike Invitational, Bowling Green and Utah met for a close battle as the Utes edged the Falcons in a thrilling five sets (29-27, 26-28, 21-25, 25-22, 15-11).

Utah won the first set in extra points but found themselves behind after the third to Bowling Green (2-6). The Utes fought hard to earn back the two losses and improve their season record to 7-4. Morgan Odale led the Utes with 18 kills and 13 digs, while Chelsey Schofield and Bailey Bateman had 16 and 14 kills, respectively.

The Falcons took the lead halfway through the first set and pushed the score to a comfortable 22-17 lead, but the Utes came back with timely hitting and team blocks en route to a 29-27 first-set victory.

The second set was full of lead changes and tied scores. The Utes pulled ahead early to force a quick Falcon timeout, but Bowling Green pushed back, much like Utah in the first set, to overcome a four-point Ute lead and bring the game to another late tie. The Falcons earned the 28-26 win in the end to even the match at one set apiece.

Utah and Bowling Green fought point for point in the third set until the Falcons pulled away late to gain the 20-14 lead. The Utes fought back with a run of their own to cut the lead to four, but it wasn’t enough as the Falcons pulled away with the 25-21 victory.

Much like the first three sets, the Utes and Falcons battled for every point, but Utah pulled out the 25-22 win to force a game-five decision.

Utah jumped out to an early lead in the fifth with a five-point run to start the game and were ahead 8-2 at the side change. Utah did not relinquish the lead and finished strong to earn the five-set victory.

Jared Houghton is a Sports Information Director who works in the BYU Athletic Communications with the men's and women's swimming teams. He can be reached at swimming_sid@byu.edu for questions relating to swimming.

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