SEATTLE The BYU women's volleyball team opened up the 2007 NCAA Tournament with a 30-27, 30-21, 30-24 sweep of Ole Miss in the first round, its 12th three-game win of the season.
"I thought we definitely got better as the match progressed," said BYU head coach Jason Watson. "We were able to identify some things during the match that needed to be upgraded and responded accordingly."
In recording their first NCAA sweep since 2003, the Cougars (22-7) advanced to the second round for the second straight year and play Saturday at 7 p.m. MST against the winner of the evening match between sixth-seeded Washington and Missouri.
"We felt a lot more comfortable having been here the last three years," said Watson. "We know better what to expect and how to prepare. The challenge tomorrow is to build on what we did tonight."
Senior Chelsea Goodman recorded her 22nd double-double of the year and 56th of her career with 17 kills and 13 digs, leading the way for BYU in both categories. Senior Erica Lott also posted double-digit kills with 13 while Ashton Hansen tallied nine blocks to lead the Cougar defense. BYU setter Amy Schlauder helped the Cougars record a . 321 hitting percentage and improve to 12-0 on the year when attacking over .300.
Hansen got BYU off to a fast start with a kill on the first serve as the Cougars scored the first eight points of game one. Goodman's serving run included two aces and three kills from Lott until Ole Miss finally got on the board at 8-1. The Cougars continued to apply pressure to earn a 13-6 lead, however, an Ole Miss run got the Rebels to within two points at 13-11, prompting a BYU timeout. Back-to-back Cougar scores out of the break swung the momentum in BYU's favor, and the advantage quickly grew to 27-20. But the Rebels scored six of the next seven points to once again cut the lead to two points at 28-26 and prompt another Cougar timeout. Goodman came out of the break with her seventh kill of the game to give BYU game point at 29-26, and Lott put it away at 30-27.
The Cougar defense was responsible for three of the first five points of game two as BYU put up three blocks while jumping out to a 4-1 lead. However, Ole Miss was ready for the Cougar attack this time and fought back to within one at 6-5. Lott put down a winner to maintain the BYU lead, but the Rebels stayed close until finally taking their first lead of the match at 17-16 in game two. Three straight Cougar points put BYU back in front at 19-17, and the Cougars cruised after a 20-20 tie, scoring 10 of the last 11 points in the game to take a 30-21 win.
Game three was a battle from the start as the Cougars pushed for the sweep and Ole Miss fought to keep its season alive. BYU was the first to earn more than a two-point lead with a 4-0 run to go up 16-11 thanks in part to two service aces by Annie Pinegar. Ole Miss got back to within two points at 17-15, but Bryn Porter stopped the Rebel advance with a cross-court kill on the next ball. The Rebels stayed close, but the Cougars kept their composure and weathered the Ole Miss attack, posting the 30-24 win.