PROVO — No. 21 BYU women’s volleyball came back from a two-set deficit to beat the Pepperdine Waves three sets to two (15-25, 17-25, 25-23, 25-16, 15-8) behind Kathryn LeCheminant's 11 blocks, a career high, and 16 kills by Alexa Gray.
“It was our turn,” BYU head coach Shawn Olmstead said. “We had a couple when we have lost, being up two, so it was our turn to come back and get one.”
Tambre Haddock contributed 14 kills and four blocks, and Ciara Parker had 16 digs.
The Cougars (19-4, 12-1 WCC) dropped the first two sets but won the next two to force a decisive fifth. Two kills each by Gray and Haddock helped BYU to an early 8-3 lead in the fifth set. Another block by LeCheminant and Gray gave the Cougars a 12-6 lead and forced a Pepperdine (11-10, 5-8 WCC) timeout. Two more kills from Gray gave BYU match point at 14-8. A block by Jessica Jardine and Whitney Young gave the Cougars the set and the match.
“For some reason we came out flat,” Olmstead said. “They came out ready to play and put a lot of pressure on us. We were tentative and I talked to the girls about picking it up, and they did.”
The Waves took the first set, 25-15. The score was close early, but a 10-1 run highlighted by three kills from Kelley Larsen gave Pepperdine a 19-9 lead. Pepperdine maintained its lead and finished the set on a kill from Katie Messing.
The Cougars fell behind early in the second set, as three BYU errors helped the Waves score four straight to take a 10-5 lead. BYU battled to within four at 18-14, but the Waves scored four of the next five points to take a 22-15 lead. A block and kill by Messing helped the Waves finish off the Cougars and take the set, 25-17.
BYU won the third set, 25-23, to stay alive. Young helped the Cougars to an early advantage with three blocks. The teams traded points to a tie at 17, when a kill by Messing gave the Waves their first lead of the set. BYU responded with four straight points to take a 21-18 lead, but Pepperdine made a run to retake the lead at 23-22. Gray came up with a huge block for the Cougars to tie the game at 23-23. A service ace by BYU’s Tia Withers Welling set up set point, and a Waves’ hitting error gave the Cougars their first set of the match.
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Back-to-back blocks by LeCheminant and two kills by Jardine helped the Cougars to a 9-5 lead to start the fourth set. Trailing 17-13, the Waves scored the next three points to trim the margin to 17-16. The Cougars scored eight straight points to take the fourth set, highlighted with four blocks by LeCheminant.
The Cougars return to action when they travel to San Francisco to take on the Dons on Thursday, Nov. 7 at 6:30 PST. Links to live stats can be found on the BYU women's volleyball schedule page.
Justin Green is the sports information director over men's track and cross country for BYU Athletic Communications. He is a BYU student majoring in public relations and minoring in business and will graduate in April 2013. Email: justinjgreen8@gmail.