PROVO, Utah – In a nationally televised game between two West Coast Conference powerhouses, four Cougars recorded double-figure kills and in digs as the No. 17 BYU women's volleyball team defeated the No. 18 San Diego Toreros, 3-1 (25-12, 21-25, 25-23, 25-18), Wednesday night. With the victory, the Cougars are now the No. 1 team in the conference.
"That was an outstanding match for us," head coach Shawn Olmstead said. "To get down like that, it's nice to respond when your back's against the wall, lose in a set and things are even, then come back and respond that way."
BYU improves to 22-2 overall and 10-2 in conference play. The Cougars have already eclipsed their total wins from last year when the team finished 21-9. San Diego falls to 17-5 and 9-3 in conference.
Sophomore Tia Withers recorded a career-high 24 digs, and junior Jennifer Hamson tallied a double-double with 15 kills and 12 digs and also had nine blocks. Senior Nicole Warner recorded a double-double as well, her first of the year, with 11 kills and 10 blocks. Ten blocks is also a BYU season-high in a four-set match.
Middle blocker Kathryn LeCheminant also tied her career-high and set her season-high with 10 total kills in the match. Setter Heather Hannemann had the third double-double of the night with 40 assists and 11 digs. Freshman Ciara Parker had 17 digs and freshman Kimberly Dahl had 11 kills.
The Cougars took the lead in the first set and never trailed. Ahead 15-10, the Cougars went on a 10-2 run to claim the first. Warner, who is No. 1 in Division I volleyball in blocks per game, led the team with four blocks and four kills.
BYU scored the first point in the second set, but San Diego scored the last. After trailing by as many as eight points, the Cougars fought back from a 20-14 deficit to cut the lead to 22-20. But the Toreros pulled away with a couple blocks and a kill to finish the set. Hamson and junior LeCheminant both tallied three kills on the set.
The third set proved to be the longest, with a combined 48 points scored and four different lead changes. BYU took a quick 7-4 advantage but never held a bigger lead. With the score tied at 22, Hamson scored two late kills, and the Toreros committed an error to push the Cougars over the edge. Senior setter Hannemann aided in the victory with 12 assists and five digs.
The fourth set featured six tie scores and an 8-0 BYU run, the largest of the night. During that run, outside hitter Dahl scored four consecutive kills. On the final play of the set, freshman Alexa Gray lobbed the ball over the top of the net to secure the win for the Cougars.
The Halloween match was featured on ESPNU, the first time a BYU match has been on an ESPN network since 2007.
The team hosts Loyola Marymount on Saturday at 1 p.m. MDT.
Aaron Sorenson is a sports information director at BYU.