LOS ANGELES — Down 2-0, Nicole Warner and Jennifer Hamson led the No. 16 BYU women’s volleyball team in its best comeback of the year to defeat Loyola Marymount 3-2 (20-25, 21-25, 25-20, 25-15, 15-8) Thursday in Los Angeles.
"Hats off to our girls for digging deep and finding a way to win that match," head coach Shawn Olmstead said. "It's tough to be down two and especially tough to be down two to a good team like LMU. They're a very good team. I'm happy for our girls. They did what they needed to do to win that match, which is impressive."
Warner had a career-high 17 blocks, obliterating her previous career high of 12. Hamson totaled 23 kills on .442 hitting and had 10 blocks for her third double-double of the season.
Libero Tia Withers led the team with a season-high 15 digs and was helped out by Jessica Jardine with 13, Gray with a career-high 12 and Heather Hannemann with 10. Hannemann also had 44 assists for her fourth double-double of the year. Gray recorded her first career double-double with 13 kills and her 12 digs.
BYU (16-1, 4-1) had a season-high 22 blocks (previous was 16). Loyola Marymount (10-7, 1-3) had two blocks.
After keeping the score close to start the first set, the Cougars let the Lions jump ahead 16-10. The Cougars tried to cut down the deficit but were only able to shave off a couple points before the Lions ended the set 25-20 on a kill by Caitlin DeWitt.
The Cougars let Loyola Marymount take the lead again in the second set, allowing the Lions to move ahead 6-2 on a block by Litara Keil and Kathleen Luft. Hamson stopped the run with back-to-back kills. BYU stormed back with a Gray kill to tie the set 13-13. Hamson and Warner got together to block Keil, taking the Cougars’ first lead of the set, 14-13.
Warner kept the team rolling, throwing down a kill to put BYU ahead 17-14 before Loyola Marymount went on a 6-1 scoring streak to retake the lead. Three kills in a row by DeWitt put the Lions ahead 24-19. BYU tried to prevent the win with a kill and a block, but Luft’s spike sent BYU to the locker room down 2-0 in the match.
A 6-1 BYU run opened the third set, but Cougar errors helped the Lions make a comeback. Loyola Marymount tied up the set 10-10 and took a 12-11 lead on another BYU error.
Hamson tied up the set 18-18 on a kill, launching a 7-0 Cougar run. Ahead 23-19, Gray and Warner blocked Amber Mirabello, setting Gray up to take the 25-20 set on a kill.
The Cougars kept the pressure up with the help of Dahl, who gave BYU a 7-4 lead on a kill in the fourth set. Kathryn LeCheminant went up for BYU’s 17th block of the night and put BYU ahead 20-15. BYU ran away with the next five points with the help of three consecutive Lion attack errors, taking the set 25-15 and sending the match to a fifth set.Comment on this story
Hamson and Warner led the charge in the fifth set, combining for two blocks to start the set. Hamson’s kill and another Warner block helped the Cougars to a 5-0 start in the final set, part of a 7-1 run. Loyola Marymount cut the lead to three points, but wasn’t able to recover. Warner secured the match with back-to-back blocks.
BYU will take a bye Saturday before resuming conference play at home Thursday. The Cougars welcome Portland to the Smith Fieldhouse Thursday at 7 p.m. before hosting San Francisco Saturday at 7:30 p.m.
Rachel Hawks is the women's volleyball sports information director for BYU Athletic Communications.