Coming into the second game of the conference season, the Cougars led the nation in blocks per set with 3.8. The combination of Jennifer Hamson, Whitney Young, and Amy Boswell should scare any opponent, and the Cougars looked to take advantage. The Cougars came into the match with a 10-2 record compared to the Pilots 5-7 record, which is five wins more than all of last season. The programs are coming off of two very different games as BYU swept the Gonzaga Bulldogs in their last game, and Portland was swept by San Diego.
In what was anticipated to be an easy victory for the Cougars, the Pilots hung close in the early moments of the set at 3-2. Things would unravel quickly, however, as BYU took advantage of the Pilots errors and built a 13-5 lead. BYU continued to put the pressure on Portland as they held a 16-6 lead before the Pilots put together a run of three straight points. The teams would trade points until the Pilots started their comeback and pulled within eight at 23-15. Boswell would make a statement in getting to set point as she rocketed a kill past the Pilots to set up the 25-16 win. The Cougars took advantage of nine Portland attack errors and added five blocks in the win.
After letting Portland back into the match near the end of the first set, the Cougars looked to start strong as the Pilots gave BYU its first points off an attacking error. BYU would return the favor and add an error of their own, giving Portland its first lead of the match at 3-2. The teams traded points but some uncharacteristic play by the Cougars gave Portland a two point lead early in the match. BYU would come right back with three points of their own to take back the lead. BYU looked to finally be ready to put the Pilots away but another run tied it up at 17. The Cougars would find a little space as they led 24-22 before the set ended on an "into the net" call against Portland, ending the set 25-22. The Cougars couldn't dominate in the blocks in this set, only recording two, and this helped lead to 14 ties and three lead changes in the set.
BYU wanted to come out aggressive and put the pilots away early, but they couldn't create the distance early. With the set being tied at three and again at five, the Pilots built up their confidence. After an incredible sequence of digs, that appeared to be heading out of play, the Cougars swung the momentum in their favor, taking a 9-5 lead. Portland once again rallied back and found themselves within two as BYU seemed to be playing on cruise control. After another sequence that built the BYU lead to six, Portland scored four straight points to put the pressure back on the Cougars. As the game began to wind down, the two teams went head to head with rally after rally, exciting the crowd and the players. Portland would find themselves within two points at 22-20 before the Cougars would finish them off 25-21.
Although Hamson led the team in kills and attacks, the player of the game could arguably be Camry Godfrey Willardson as she ended up doing a bit of everything. Not only did she record 31 assists but she added seven digs, two blocks, and four kills. Young and Boswell led the team with four blocks each.
BYU will next travel to Malibu, CA to take on the Pepperdine Wave at 7 pm MDT on ESPNU. The Cougars will then come back home to take on San Francisco on October 2nd.