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BYU volleyball: Cougars lose to Oklahoma in five sets

By Royce Hinton

For the Deseret News

Published: Saturday, Sept. 7 2013 11:37 p.m. MDT

PORTLAND, Ore. – The No. 25 BYU women’s volleyball team (4-3) fell in five sets (25-22, 25-14, 23-25, 22-25, 12-15) against Big 12 foe Oklahoma on Saturday evening.

“A tough lesson on the road,” BYU head coach Shawn Olmstead said. “We have to keep the pressure on our opponents when we have those leads.”

Tambre Haddock had 24 kills on 68 attempts to hit .221, to go along with 22 kills on 43 attempts for Alexa Gray. Freshman Whitney Young contributed six blocks on the defensive end, while sophomore Camry Godfrey added 69 assists. Twenty-three digs apiece were aided by liberos Ciara Parker and Tia Withers Welling.

The Cougars started off strong in the first two sets, coming out at the break with a 2-0 lead. BYU maintained its energy in the last three sets but was unable to come out on top.

Jessica Jardine put the first points on the board with a kill, and then a 4-0 run from the Cougars gave them a 7-4 edge. The Sooners kept the score close, coming within two points at 16-14. The two teams continued to trade points until a Haddock kill gave the Cougars a four-point lead at 20-16. The Sooners quickly battled back, coming within a point of BYU at 23-22 and that’s as close as they got. The Cougars proved to be too much to handle for Oklahoma, as BYU took the first set 25-22 from a Gray kill.

The second set began with three attack errors from the Cougars, but BYU was able to maintain composure and take a 6-5 lead from a Jardine kill. The Cougars extended their lead to five at 15-10 with a combined block from Haddock and Young. The Sooners then had to try and battle back from a nine-point deficit at 21-12. The lead proved to be too much as Gray took the set for BYU, 25-14, from back-to-back kills.

BYU got off to a quick 4-0 lead to start things off in the third set. Oklahoma wasn’t too far behind as it went on a 5-1 run to come within a point of the Cougars at 6-5. A Sooner block tied the set at 11-11, and a bad set from Godfrey gave Oklahoma its first lead a point later. A 4-0 run from the Sooners proved ineffective as BYU stormed back to tie the set, 14-14, from a pair of Kathryn LeCheminant kills. Oklahoma then had a 3-0 run of its own to take a 19-16 lead, forcing Olmstead to call a timeout. The Sooners maintained a two-point lead at the end of the set, taking it 25-23.

Both teams played fairly consistently until the Cougars went on a 4-0 run, taking a 7-5 lead. BYU maintained a slight lead over Oklahoma for much of the set before the Sooners were able to tie it at 15-15. The two teams continued to trade points until an Oklahoma ace gave the Sooners their first lead at 19-18 since the beginning of the set. Following the ace, a pair of Young kills gave BYU a 20-19 edge. Oklahoma took over from there, winning the set 25-22 with a Sooner block.

Young put a kill on the board to start things off in the fifth and final set. A pair of Gray kills put the Cougars ahead two, 6-4. Oklahoma took its first lead at 9-8 from a Cougar attack error. BYU bounced back after that, tying the set at 12-12. The Sooners scored three-straight points to close out the match, 15-12.

Oklahoma improves to 6-1 on the season, with its only loss coming at the hands of new WCC opponent Pacific.

BYU prepares to host its home opener in Provo by facing out-of-conference opponent Montana State on Tuesday at 7 p.m. in the Smith Fieldhouse. The match will be televised nationally on BYUtv. You can find links to live stats and an online streaming version on the BYU women’s volleyball schedule page.

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

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