SPOKANE, Wash. — Great blocking and opponent errors helped the No. 18 BYU women’s volleyball team upend Gonzaga 3-0 (25-21, 25-16, 25-22) on the road Thursday.
BYU improves to 20-2 on the season and 8-2 in the West Coast Conference, while Gonzaga drops to 9-14 and 1-9 in conference.
"We like to come out here and get a win," head coach Shawn Olmstead said. "I thought we weren't as consistent as we should be, but the ball rolled our way a few times more than theirs. I thought Gonzaga dug really well. They out-dug us. That shows some fight and some heart that is always good to see from your opponent. They played well and at times got us a little flustered."
Jennifer Hamson and Alexa Gray kept BYU in control with 12 kills and nine kills, respectively. Hannemann aided with 36 assists and Tia Withers had 11 digs. At No. 3 in the nation for blocks per set, Nicole Warner proved her worthiness of the position with eight blocks during the match.
The team’s 12 blocks spurred the Cougars to victory, but Gonzaga’s 28 attack errors kept the Bulldogs from taking any lead.
The Bulldogs didn’t give BYU the first set easily. Despite taking a 5-2 lead on a Ciara Parker ace, the Cougars let Gonzaga come back to tie it up 5-5. Six more ties followed during the first set until Warner’s block started a 6-2 BYU run. Hamson finished off the set on a kill, giving BYU a 25-21 victory.
BYU had only a slightly easier time shaking off the Bulldogs in the second set. Aided by two kills from the Cougars’ freshman outside hitters, BYU broke out of a 6-6 tie. Warner marched the Cougars ahead to a 12-8 lead with back-to-back blocks. Gonzaga came back within two when Bulldog Katie Rutherford’s kill put the score at 15-13, but Hamson didn’t let her get away with much and answered with a kill of her own. The rest of the set, BYU stayed ahead by at least three and finished off the second set 25-16 with a Warner and Hamson block.
Gonzaga attack errors helped BYU to an easy lead in the final set. The Cougars went ahead 7-3 on a Bulldog service error. Hannemann and Warner increased that lead to 10-5 blocking Bulldog Jordan Gasser. Gonzaga once again came back within two points at 21-19 before Jessica Jardine set up Hannemann for a kill to stop the Bulldogs’ momentum. Dahl and LeCheminant finished off the match with a block.
BYU now travels south to Portland to take on the Pilots at 3 p.m. PDT Saturday.
Rachel Hawks is the women's volleyball sports information director for BYU Athletic Communications.