Senior Alexa Gray led No. 13 BYU women’s volleyball in a sweep (25-16, 25-17, 25-15) of West Coast Conference foe Portland on Saturday afternoon at the Smith Fieldhouse. The win brings the Cougars to 17-2 on the season and 7-1 in the WCC.
“I'm really excited about the way the team came out from the get-go with energy, focus and execution,” BYU head coach Heather Olmstead said. "Portland is a great team and they have good coaches so we were focused on ourselves and trying to execute what we wanted to do. We just focused on our side and wanted to do a few things that could help us get better in the long run."
Gray led the Cougar offense with 21 kills while hitting a .500 clip. Cosy Burnett added seven kills on the afternoon, with freshman Lacy Haddock adding six of her own. Camry Godfrey Willardson registered her fourth double-double on the season, recording 27 assists and 11 digs. Gray and Ciara Parker served up two service aces each, with Amy Boswell and Haddock also serving one apiece. Boswell added a team-high three blocks in the win.
BYU started the first set on an 8-2 run after a few quick kills and a service ace from Gray. After a Portland (11-9, 1-7 WCC) timeout, the Pilots responded with a couple of scores before a service ace from Boswell put the Cougars up 11-4. Three-straight kills from Haddock brought the score to 14-5 in favor of the Cougars. After a 3-0 run for the Pilots, BYU put together a four-point run of its own that brought the score to 18-9 and forced a Portland timeout. The Pilots rallied after the break to close the gap before a Gray kill put the Cougars up 22-14. A Haddock kill forced a set point at 24-14, and the Cougars took the set 25-16 moments later on a Portland attack error.
Both teams exchanged scores to start the second set before kills from Whitney Young Howard and Veronica Jones put BYU up 8-5. BYU extended its lead to 12-7 after a Haddock service ace and Burnett kill forced a Portland timeout. Four quick kills from Gray pushed the Cougar lead to 17-11 and forced the Pilots to take another timeout. Portland responded after the break, closing the gap and bringing the score to 19-15. BYU pushed the lead back to 21-16 after kills from Howard and Willardson. A kill from Burnett forced a set point for the Cougars at 24-17, and a block from Gray and Boswell finished the set, 25-17.
The third set began 2-2 behind two early kills from Gray. A 5-0 BYU run, featuring kills from Boswell and Willardson, pushed the Cougar lead to 8-4. After exchanging scores, another Gray kill put the Cougars up 13-7. Two more straight kills from Gray helped extend the Cougar lead to 19-11 before Portland was forced to take a timeout. A couple of kills from Gray and one from Howard brought the score to 23-14. Moments later, Sophie Cram entered the match and recorded a kill that forced match point, and Gray’s 10th kill of the set finished the match for the Cougars, 25-15.
BYU travels to Malibu next week to take on Pepperdine on Thursday at 7p.m. PDT, at the Firestone Fieldhouse. Fans can watch the game on TheW.tv or follow the live stats feed. Links to both can be found on the BYU women's volleyball schedule page.