For the second-straight match in the Marcia E. Hamilton Classic, senior Alexa Gray led the way as No. 12 BYU women's volleyball swept (25-17, 25-21, 25-20) No. 24 Purdue on Saturday afternoon at Chaifetz Arena.
"David Hyte did a great job with the scouting report, and the team executed really well because of it," BYU head coach Heather Olmstead said. "Alexa and Ciara did great keeping our passers focused so that we could get in rhythm."
Gray led the Cougars with 14 kills on a .333 clip to go along with seven digs. Amy Boswell added three blocks while Ciara Parker contributed 11 digs to round out the defensive effort. Camry Godfrey Willardson had a team-high 28 assists and 10 digs for her second double-double of the season. Additionally, Whitney Young Howard had six kills, a .308 clip and a pair of blocks and digs in the win.
Purdue (4-1) took an early 3-2 lead in the first set, but BYU (4-1) quickly countered with a 5-0 run to go up 7-3, forcing a Boilermaker timeout. The teams traded points after the break, with a Willardson dump kill and ace extending the Cougars' lead to six, 13-7. BYU then took advantage of four-straight Purdue errors to go up by double digits, 18-8. The Boilermakers eventually went on a 6-1 run of their own to cut the lead to six, 23-17. The rally proved too late as the Cougars scored the next two points, taking the set 25-17 on another Purdue attack error.
The Boilermakers jumped out to a 7-3 edge to start the second set after several kills. BYU stayed in the set, however, going on a 4-1 run to cut Purdue's lead to one, 8-7. The set remained neck-to-neck from there until back-to-back Boilermaker blocks put Purdue up by three, 15-12. The scoring went back and forth again until an 8-1 Cougar rally, which included three Gray kills, gave BYU a 24-19 advantage and set point. A Boilermaker service error eventually ended the set in the Cougars' favor, 25-21.
BYU opened up the third set with a 5-2 advantage after a pair of Gray kills. Purdue stayed in the set, coming within a point at 8-7 on a Cougar attack error. The Boilermakers took their first timeout of the set after committing consecutive errors to give BYU a three-point 12-9 lead. After a 5-1 Cougar run, Purdue took its final timeout in hopes of slowing down BYU's offense as it led 15-10. The teams traded points from there until a 6-1 Boilermaker spurt cut into the Cougars' lead, down 20-19. Howard scored BYU's next three points, increasing her team's lead to three at 23-20. Gray ended the set and match for the Cougars, 25-20, with a kill.
The Cougars return to action at 4:30 p.m. CDT, against Arkansas-Pine Bluff (0-4), concluding play in the Saint Louis invitational. Links to live stats can be found on the BYU women's volleyball schedule page.
Royce Hinton is the men's and women's volleyball sports information director for BYU Athletic Communications.