Alexa Gray's 14 kills led No. 12 BYU women's volleyball over Portland in a three-set (25-14, 25-19, 25-21) sweep Thursday night at the Chiles Center.
The win clinched the West Coast Conference Championship for the Cougars outright.
"To simply say that I am proud of this team is an understatement," BYU head coach Shawn Olmstead said. "Each of these girls have given their all to our team and have put team above self as they fought to accomplish a goal they set in August. I'm lucky to be their coach, but as I always say, we can still improve and we'll work to do just that."
In addtion to Gray's 14 kills, she hit a .353 clip while adding three digs and three blocks. Camry Godfrey Willardson led the team in assists with 31 while Ciara Parker contributed a team-high 13 digs. On the other defensive side, Whitney Young had five blocks to lead the team in the Cougar win. Jennifer Hamson also had double-digit kills with 11 while adding five digs and four blocks.
BYU (23-4, 14-2 WCC) jumped out to a 3-1 advantage over Portland (6-21, 1-15 WCC) early in the first set with help from a Young service ace. The Pilots kept things close, however, coming within a point at 8-7 following a kill from Portland's Bea Loper. A quick trio of points topped off by a kill from Tambre Nobles helped extend the Cougars' lead to five at 15-10. BYU maintained a comfortable lead for the rest of the set, which included a 5-0 run, ending it 25-14 on a Hamson kill.
The Cougars opened the second set 3-0 due in part to a pair of Pilot attack errors. Portland then came firing back, tying the set at five apiece. BYU countered with a 6-1 run, helped by a pair of Gray kills, to put the Cougars back up 11-6. The Pilots didn't give up, coming back within two at 15-13 following a kill from Portland's Makayla Lindburg. BYU's offense couldn't be stopped to end the second set as the Cougars cruised to a 25-19 set two win, ending on a Hamson and Young block.
Quick plays got the Pilots off to a 4-2 lead early in the third set. BYU wasn't able to retake the lead until a net violation put the Cougars up with a 9-8 advantage. The two teams traded points from there until Amy Boswell and Gray gave BYU a block and put their team up by two at 17-15. Portland took its first timeout, trailing 20-18, following a kill from Hamson. The Cougars took the closely contested set, 25-21, on a service error to end the match.
BYU stays on the road Saturday when it faces Gonzaga at noon PST. The match will be broadcast live on TheW.tv. Links to live stats and a video feed can be found on the BYU women's volleyball schedule page.
Royce Hinton is the women's volleyball sports information director for BYU Athletic Communications.