BYU women’s volleyball bounced back from a heartbreaking loss to Washington by beating the University of Maryland, Baltimore County in straight sets (25-12, 25-15, 25-13) Saturday afternoon at the Smith Fieldhouse. Senior Jennifer Hamson led the Cougars with 11 kills and four blocks. Sophomore Amy Boswell also had four blocks for BYU.
"Coming off of a match like last night, it was good to have a match like this where we can rebound - get our feet back under us, get our offense going, get our passing going - all those things," BYU head coach Shawn Olmstead. "So I told those girls I’m really proud of how they rebounded and had some mental endurance to get back at it early. With the time that one finished last night, that’s a quick turnaround."
Alexa Gray started the scoring for the Cougars with her first kill of the match. After exchanging early points, BYU went on a 7-0 run to push its lead to 17-8 sparked by strong serving from senior Tia Withers Welling and strong net play from junior Gray and sophomore Whitney Young. Hamson recorded a service ace a few points later to give the Cougars a 21-10 advantage and force a UMBC timeout. The Cougars kept the pressure coming out of the timeout, winning the first set shortly after, 25-12, on a block at the net by Young and junior Camry Godfrey Willardson. In the set, the Cougars were led by Hamson and Gray who had five and two kills, respectively, and both hit a .500 clip. Young also led BYU with three blocks.
Hamson started the second set with her sixth kill of the match, but UMBC jumped out to a quick 3-1 lead before another Hamson kill got the Cougars back on the board. After exchanging points, BYU took its first lead of the set, 8-7, on a block by Boswell and senior Tambre Nobles. The Cougars used the momentum to go on a five-point run, capped by a service ace from senior Hannah Robison that pushed the lead to 12-7. BYU continued its strong play throughout the set while increasing its lead. The Cougars closed the set with four-straight points to win the set, 25-15, on another service ace from Robison. Hamson again led BYU with five kills. She got help from a strong set by Boswell who had three kills and three blocks.
Gray got back into the mix in the third set with a kill to open the scoring as the Cougars opened up a 5-0 lead. Gray recorded a service ace during that run. After giving up a point, Young took her turn serving BYU into another run, pushing the Cougar lead to 11-1, while recording three aces. Not to be outdone, Hamson joined the serving barrage by helping the Cougars build their lead to 14-2, while recording another ace of her own. BYU continued its dominant play over UMBC, leading by as many as 14 in the set, before winning, 25-13, on a Gray kill.
The strong serving from the Cougars approached a single-match rally-scoring era record for team aces with 12. Hamson led the charge with four, while Robison and Young had three apiece. The Retrievers were led by Hannah Schmidt who recorded 10 kills.
The Cougars conclude BYU Invitational play at 7 p.m. MDT, when they face Utah Valley in the Smith Fieldhouse.