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BYU volleyball: spikers win first match of the season

By Royce Hinton

For the Deseret News

Published: Saturday, Aug. 31 2013 2:52 p.m. MDT

BYU's Alexa Gray spikes a ball past Utah's Morgan Odale on Sept. 7, 2012.

Jaren Wilkey/BYU, Jaren Wilkey/BYU

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BOWLING GREEN, Ohio – The BYU women’s volleyball team recorded its first win of the season in a 3-2 (25-23, 19-25, 25-17, 14-25, 15-12) showdown against Marquette in the Cougars’ second match of the Hampton Inn Invitational.

“This was an improvement from last night,” head coach Shawn Olmstead said. “Not only in result, but in how we played. I was pleased and proud of the way the team fought. Marquette is a great program with a very talented team and coaching staff.”

Sophomore Alexa Gray led the Cougar offense with 20 kills, while junior Tambre Haddock contributed 17 kills of her own in the win. Camry Godfrey supported at setter with 52 assists, and freshman Amy Boswell went up for seven blocks to lead BYU. Junior Tia Withers Welling got into double-figures as well with 15 digs.

Both teams took turns exchanging points in the beginning of the match, with neither squad controlling the set. The Cougars maintained a slight lead over the Golden Eagles until a pair of attack errors put BYU behind, 16-13. The Cougars came battling back, taking a 20-19 lead after a Marquette attack error. BYU had three-consecutive set points before taking the first set, 25-23, from a Boswell kill.

Marquette took an early 5-2 lead in the second set with multiple kills from Golden Eagle Lindsey Gosh. BYU rallied from a five-point deficit with four-straight Gray kills to force a Marquette timeout at 15-14. The Golden Eagles had a rally of their own to end the match 25-19, finishing on a 5-1 run.

Several attack errors from Marquette put the Cougars up 8-3 early in the third set. BYU continued to play on the attack with multiple kills coming from Haddock, which extended the Cougar lead to 12-6. The Cougars maintained at least a six-point lead throughout the rest of the set as BYU coasted to a 25-17 finish.

The Golden Eagles came battling back in the fourth set, taking a 6-4 lead with a pair of service aces. Three-straight Haddock kills kept the Cougars within a point, after falling behind, 10-6. Marquette continued its attack, widening its lead to seven points, 20-13. The Cougars couldn’t put together its own attack late, as the Golden Eagles took the fourth set, 25-14.

The first half of the final set saw both sides trading points evenly. A Hannah Robison kill gave BYU its largest lead at 7-4, before Marquette came back to take the lead, 9-8, after multiple Cougar errors. But BYU fought its way back at the end, taking the final set at 15-12.

The Cougars take on host Bowling Green State at 7 p.m. EDT to finish out the invitational. Live stats are available for the match on BYU's schedule page. Live video for the match can be found on the Mid-American Conference’s website.

Royce Hinton is the women's volleyball sports information director for BYU Athletic Communications.

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