PROVO, Utah – Jennifer Hamson led the No. 16 BYU women’s volleyball team Tuesday night in a 3-0 victory (25-10, 25-15, 25-16) over Utah Valley University in the Smith Fieldhouse.
“Jennifer played in her basketball game this morning, and we were a little worried about her coming out a little flat tonight, but she responded and played great," head coach Shawn Olmstead said. "That’s a complete credit to her, and I like how our team responded against UVU. This can be a scary match. They are a great team, but we came out ready to roll.”
Hamson finished the match with 13 kills, four blocks and a .455 hitting percentage. Alexa Gray finished with 12 kills. Tia Withers and Ciara Parker finished with a combined 24 digs. Heather Hannemann finished with 29 assists and 12 digs, her 11th double-double of the year.
Heading into the NCAA Tournament, BYU ends the regular season 26-3 overall and 13-3 in the West Coast Conference.
To start things off for the Cougars, Gray had two kills from the outside, the first off of the hands of UVU blockers and the second to the hard angle. Moments later Hamson followed Gray with two kills of her own, putting her team up 6-2. This morning, as part of the women’s basketball team, Hamson recorded her first double-double of the year scoring a career-high 23 points and grabbing 13 rebounds. Hamson flew up from Arizona following the basketball game to compete with the volleyball team.
Midway through the first set, the Cougars extended their lead 17-6 with a kill from Nicole Warner, an ace from Heather Hannemann and another kill from Warner. BYU went up 23-10 late in the set due to a .481 team hitting percentage. Hamson went 8 of 8 and closed out the set 25-10 with a block from the right side. Tia Withers led the Cougars’ defense with seven of her team’s 20 digs.
Similarly to set one, Gray contributed three kills and Hamson one to give their team an early 4-0 lead in set two. The Wolverine’s first point of the set came from Erica Nish from the outside. With three Cougars hitting about .500 (Kathryn LeCheminant, Warner and Hamson), the Cougars continued their dominance over the Wolverines going up 12-2. In order to earn point 12, UVU made BYU work for it, digging Kimberly Dahl twice and Hamson once before Dahl hit to the deep corner off the arms of a UVU defender for the point.
Toward the end of set two, the Cougars still held onto a 17-9 lead but struggled get the ball in play with several passing errors and two hitting errors. LeCheminant got the Cougars back on track and into the 20s with a tip from the middle and a hit that bounced just outside the three-meter line. On set point, UVU went on a 4-0 run with two blocks and two kills before Hamson ended the set with her 12th kill of the night.
In set three, Gray once again started things off for the Cougars with a high hit off hands from the outside and a hit from the right side putting the Cougars up 2-1. The Cougars extended that lead to 5-2 with a strong presence from Warner, who contributed a kill and a block. UVU closed the gap to one with a block and several kills. Despite UVU’s slight comeback, BYU jumped up quickly to 12-6, but after several substitutions from the UVU bench, UVU made another comeback, coming within one (13-12). BYU, not wanting to give up the lead, extended the gap back to five with a block and a kill from Grey and another kill from Warner.
At the end of set three, Hamson continued to dominate all hitters, putting the Cougars up 18-13 with her 13th kill of the night. Due to multiple errors from UVU and a final kill from Gray, BYU closed out the match 25-16.
The Cougars await Selection Sunday to learn their opponents for the NCAA Tournament. BYU received the WCC’s automatic bid to the tournament after winning the tiebreaker. BYU and San Diego both lost to Saint Mary’s, Santa Clara and each other, so the conference looked at how many sets were won in the series against each other. BYU won 5-4.
The selection show can be viewed on ESPNU on Sunday at 4 p.m. EST.
Steven Tew is an SID at BYU Athletic Communications. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org,