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BYU Women's Volleyball: #10 Cougars defeat Dons in four

The 10th ranked Cougars dispatch their third straight WCC opponent but not before losing their first set in conference play.

Camry Godfrey Willardson
Camry Godfrey Willardson
BYU Photo/Jaren Wilkey

BYU moved up in the rankings and found themselves again ranked 10th in the country as they looked for their 8th straight win, and 13th overall.  The San Francisco Dons seemed to be the next sacrificial lamb on the schedule, but they didn't want to cooperate.  Coming in with a 9-5 record, 2-0 in the WCC, the Dons had won four straight and were one of two teams in the WCC with an unblemished conference record, BYU being the other at 3-0.

Set 1

The set started off with a strong rally as both sides pushed each other, ending with a USF point. The two teams fought neck and neck early as neither team could get more than a two point lead.  BYU was down early, but found themselves scoring four straight to take a 7-5 lead.  After playing to a 9-9 tie, the Cougars again went on a run as they scored eight straight points to frustrate the Dons and take a 17-9 lead.  BYU continued to pressure the USF defense, taking a 24-14 lead, before Amy Boswell ended the set with a powerful kill. In the set the Cougars managed five blocks, Boswell leading the way with three.

Set 2

In set number two the Dons were set on letting the Cougars know that they were not going away and earned an early 4-1 lead.  After a couple of key blocks for the Cougars, BYU took the lead at 9-6.  USF would tie the game at nine, but BYU would again go on a run and held a six-point leads multiple times.  With the set point Jennifer Hamson finished off the set with a kill, giving the Cougars the 25-18 win and a 2-0 set lead.  Camry Godfrey Willardson ended the first two sets with 22 assists and four blocks while Amy Boswell and Whitney Young would end with five blocks each.

Set 3

USF would fall behind early in the third set, but wouldn't let it discourage them.  After tying the set up at three the teams battled back and forth until USF took a 9-8 lead.  The Dons would quickly take the momentum as they built a 16-10 lead, but would allow the Cougars to pull back within one.  The Cougars continued to fight, but couldn't get over the hump as they tried to avoid their first set loss in WCC play, but an unsuccessful block led to the Dons 25-23 win and the Cougars first losing set in eight games.  In the set Hamson recorded a block that puts her in 4th place all-time in BYU blocks.

Set 4

BYU came out in the fourth set on fire and didn't want to give the Dons any chance of another winning set.  Driven by spectacular blocks and kills the Cougars built a 6-2 lead.  With the pressure on the Dons began to fold as a 9-3 lead ballooned into a 14-3 lead.  With the USF players looking gassed and defeated, BYU kept the pressure on as they maintained a 10-point lead through much of the set.  After another block by Young gave the Cougars match point at 24-8, the Dons put up one more rally as they scored three straight before succumbing to the Cougars, 25-11.

The story of the match goes back to the blocks as BYU recorded 24 blocks to the Dons three. The block party was led by Young, who recorded 17, which ties her for 1st in the rally era.  Hamson would add 11 blocks and 18 kills to the scorecard, while Alexa Gray had 16 kills and five blocks.  Willardson was again sensational as she finished with 41 assists and seven digs.

Next Game

BYU will stay home to play Santa Clara on October 4th at 8 pm MDT. The game will be on BYU Sirius Radio and BYUtv.