Whitney Young’s 10 blocks led No. 12 BYU women’s volleyball over Pepperdine, 3-1 (25-10, 20-25, 25-20, 25-17), at the Smith Fieldhouse on Saturday.
"I'm proud of the fight our girls showed today," head coach Shawn Olmstead said. "They overcame a streaking Pepperdine team. Jen (Hamson) played great on the outside for us and Whitney was a force in the middle."
Young, the nation’s leader in blocking, led the team in blocking with 10, while BYU had a total of 13.5 team blocks. Jennifer Hamson led the team in kills with 20 along with six blocks. Tambre Nobles had a season-high three aces to go along with her five kills and seven digs. Alexa Gray had 12 kills and three blocks. Amy Boswell had six kills and three blocks, while Ciara Parker had 14 digs. Camry Godfrey Willardson and Alohi Robins-Hardy shared the setting duties with 19 and 16 assists, respectively. Pepperdine's Katie Messing led all hitters with 23 kills.
BYU (18-3, 9-1 West Coast Conference) remains in first place in the conference, while Pepperdine (8-15, 3-8 WCC) drops to ninth place.
Willardson started off the first set with an ace for the Cougars. Young and Nobles teamed up for a stuff block to take the early 4-1 lead. After a 4-0 run from BYU, Messing got a kill down the line to make the score 7-3. Hitting errors plagued Pepperdine in the first set with nine. Boswell had two kills in the first set off her slide attack, the second at the tail end of a 5-0 run for BYU with the score 15-4. A kill from Hamson from the right side won the first set for the Cougars, 25-10.
Pepperdine took the early 5-3 lead in the second set after two blocks in a row from Becca Strehlow. A block from Young ended a 4-0 Waves run with the Cougars down 10-7. After both teams traded points back and forth, an ace from Nobles tied the game at 14-all. Pepperdine fought back with a 3-0 run to keep the lead 17-14. A well-placed tip from Cosy Burnett kept the Cougars in the game at 23-20, but it was too late to stop the rolling Waves. A kill and stuff block from Strehlow finished off BYU to give Pepperdine the 25-20 win in the second set. The Waves had seven blocks in the second set alone.
BYU began the third set with a stuff block by Hamson and Young to take the early lead. An overpass from Pepperdine set up Young for a kill to give the Cougars the 3-1 advantage. A back slide from Pepperdine’s Samantha Cash tied up the game at 4-all. Messing served an ace and led the Waves to a 4-0 run to go up 11-8 before she served it into the net. Both teams traded points to continually tie and take the lead multiple times before a tip in the corner from Nobles gave BYU the 21-20 lead, its first lead since 4-3. Parker’s ace won the third set, 25-20. Freshman Robins-Hardy came into the set and had seven assists.
Young started off another set with a stuff block. After a great hustle play from Robins-Hardy, the Cougars took the early 3-0 lead. A couple of kills from Hamson put BYU on a 3-0 run and forced Pepperdine to call a timeout with the score 6-1. Three errors in a row from the Cougars put the Waves back in the game and gave them the 8-7 lead. BYU came storming back with a 9-0 run with kills from Hamson, two stuff blocks from Young and an ace from Robins-Hardy. Messing ended the run with a kill to make the score 20-12. Pepperdine kept in the game with a 3-0 run, led by two kills from Messing, but a Hamson kill put BYU up 24-17 at match point. Burnett powered through the block to get the match-winning kill, giving the Cougars the 25-17 win in the fourth set.
BYU hits the road next week to play Santa Clara and San Francisco. The game against the Dons will be broadcast on TheW.tv. Live stats will be available for both games on the BYU women’s volleyball schedule page.