The Cougars started off their home schedule off with a bang as they took on the 5th ranked Washington Huskies and put a 26 game home winning streak on the line. With electricity and anticipation filling both the fans and the players, neither team wanted to walk out of the Smith Fieldhouse with a loss. The Huskies were looking for their first win against the Cougars as they faced a 0-12 record against BYU.
The Cougars started off strong but couldn't pull away from the Huskies out of the gate. The crowd was treated to various rallies that required digs, blocks, and kills before finally ending. BYU rode the play of Jennifer Hamson in the early going as they built up a 13-6 lead. At one point the Cougars went on an 8-1 run before Washington stymied the run. Hamson had seven kills in the first 16 points before the Huskies got back on track. Once the Huskies found their rhythm, they showed why they are ranked #5 as they went on a 12-0 run before taking the first set 25-18.
The second set stayed close as the teams went back and forth matching point for point. BYU proved that they weren't going to back down as they took an early two point lead at 7-5, re-energizing the crowd. BYU would continue their pace as they took a four point lead at 11-7 but the Huskies weren't done. After pulling within two at 12-10, the teams traded points until the Huskies went on a quick run to tie the set at 15. BYU would break the tie as Camry Godfrey Willardson would take the Huskies by surprise with a sideways push on the ball over the net for the score. This would lead to a three point lead at 19-16 and a timeout. BYU had a quick 6-1 run to put the Cougars up 21-16 but Washington again failed to give up as they played aggressive and pulled within two and forced a BYU timeout. After tying up the set at 21, a service error on the Huskies gave the Cougars the lead back but they couldn't capitalize. Tied up at 22, the Cougars gave Hamson another chance to shine as she scored the next two points as the Cougars took the set 25-22. Both teams had five blocks and 15 kills in the set.
After splitting the first two sets, Washington was not about to give BYU hope in set three as they took an early 6-3 lead on the Cougars. After falling down 8-4, BYU forced their way back into the game as Amy Boswell scored the next two points on a kill and a block to pull within two. Washington continued to put on the pressure as they rebounded and increased their lead to 13-8 before BYU took another timeout. After the timeout the Cougars came out swinging and found themselves back in the game as Boswell and Hamson pulled the Cougars to within one at 15-14. After a Huskies timeout, Boswell blocked another Huskies hit, tying the game and stealing some of the momentum from Washington. But the Huskies would get it right back as they won four of the next five points and took a 19-16 lead. After a BYU timeout the Cougars pulled back to within two but couldn't get over the hump as Washington countered each of the Cougars rallies and won 25-21. One of the surprises in the match was Alexa Gray struggling for the Cougars through three as she had seven kills to eight errors and a hitting percentage of -0.37.
BYU wasn't about to quit in set four but Washington had other ideas. The teams kept it close but Washington pulled to a 7-5 lead after a Cougar service error, leaving the crowd anxious. The Cougars found themselves down 10-9 before the Huskies pushed the lead to four at 13-9. BYU would storm back with five straight points to take their first lead of the set at 14-13 but precision hitting gave the Huskies the serve. The two teams traded points until the Cougars scored three straight points giving them a 20-17 lead and hope for a fifth set. After a timeout by the Huskies the Cougars looked to put them away as they scored the next three points, capping off a 6-0 run and a 23-17 lead. Washington wouldn't go away however as they scored the next two points, forcing a Cougar time out as they tried to regroup in order to finish out the set. Washington would score the next point but the Cougars would make it set point at 24-20. Washington would score again before Hamson put them away with her 19th kill to win 25-21.
Washington came out strong in the fifth set and scored the first three points as they tried to take away any thoughts of a BYU victory. BYU looked shell shocked as they suddenly found themselves down 5-1 after giving up a service ace and looking at an uphill battle. After a well timed Cougar timeout the Cougars clawed their way back into the game but again found themselves down three, halfway through the set. The players from both teams left everything out on the floor as they went hard for every ball, every block and every hit. BYU continued to hang in the game as they pulled within two at 9-7 but Washington's Vansant was too much for the Cougars. The Huskies didn't take their foot off the pedal as the Huskies jumped to a 13-9 lead as BYU called a timeout to regroup and attempt one last rally. Coming out of the timeout the Cougars failed to capitalize as they couldn't stop the Huskies hitters as the set ended 15-10, ending the home winning streak. Vasant led both teams with 25 kills and added 15 digs while Hamson led the Cougars with 21 kills. Boswell also had a strong showing for the Cougars with nine kills and a .500 hitting percentage.
The next match will be Saturday September 6th at noon in the Smith Fieldhouse versus UMBC on BYUtv. They will play again at 7pm against Utah Valley University on theW.tv.