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BYU volleyball: No. 15 BYU volleyball heads to D.C. for George Washington Invite

By Rachel Hawks

For the Deseret News

Published: Tuesday, Sept. 11 2012 10:44 a.m. MDT

PROVO, Utah — Still undefeated on the season, the No. 15 BYU women’s volleyball team takes to Washington, D.C., for the George Washington Invitational Friday and Saturday. This will be the team’s final tournament before conference play.

The Cougars, now 9-0, are enjoying their highest ranking since 2007, when they finished the season at No. 12.

In the nation’s capital, BYU will face three East Coast schools — New Hampshire Friday at 5 p.m. EDT, Princeton on Saturday at noon EDT and host George Washington at 7 p.m. EDT.

West Coast Conference Player of the Week Jennifer Hamson leads the Cougars with 4.45 kills per set. Hamson is No. 16 in Division I volleyball for kills per set and No. 6 in DI volleyball for points per set with 5.35. Senior setter Heather Hannemann is No. 15 in Division I volleyball with 11.71 assists per set.

Senior middle blocker Nicole Warner, who finished the season No. 6 for blocks per set in 2011, is No. 6 again with 1.65 blocks per set.

BYU has players in the top 20 in four of the seven statistics categories the NCAA follows.

New Hampshire

New Hampshire comes off a 2-1 weekend at the Holly Young Invitational, which put the team’s current record at 4-6. The Wildcats easily finished off Holy Cross 3-0 in the opening match of the invitational but were met with trouble in their next match against Central Connecticut State. New Hampshire slipped by with the five-set win but couldn’t rally to beat William and Mary in the five-set final match.

New Hampshire plays against Bryant prior to the George Washington Invitational.

The Wildcats are led by opposite hitter Morgan Thatcher, who averages 3.55 kills per set and has 142 total kills. Opposite Destiny Tollister is another Wildcat to look out for, averaging 2.51 kills, 1.13 digs per set and .72 blocks per set. Tolliver has nine solo blocks on the season and 28 total.

Princeton

Princeton is 2-3 on the season after winning one and losing one at the Colgate Invitational over the weekend. The Tigers defeated host Colgate 3-0 but fell the next morning to Siena in a 3-2 match.

Before heading to Washington, D.C., the Tigers will take on Seton Hall in New Jersey Wednesday.

Lydia Rudnick has 76 kills on the season at 4.22 per set. With her 2.72 digs per set, the senior outside hitter is responsible for 4.75 points per set for the Tigers. Nicole Kincade helps out at the net with 1.50 blocks per set as No. 10 in DI volleyball in that category.

George Washington

Host George Washington is looking to rebound after a 0-3 weekend at the Spring Hill Suites at Arundel Mills Invitational at Maryland. The Colonials fell to No. 16 Tennessee, a team BYU defeated in the Shocker Volleyball Classic, and to Maryland in three sets before losing to Boston College 3-1.

The Colonials will play against Princeton Friday night and New Hampshire Saturday morning before taking on the Cougars in the final match of the tournament.

With 136 kills this season, senior outside hitter Lauren Whyte leads the Colonials. She averages 3.49 kills per set. Libero Candace Silva-Martin leads in digs with 3.28 per set.

Live stats are available for the match on the George Washington schedule page. Live streaming for the event is available with a monthly subscription.

Rachel Hawks is the women's volleyball sports information director for BYU Athletic Communications.

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