The 13th ranked Cougars came into the game ranked and holding a two and a half game lead over 25th ranked Santa Clara in the race for the WCC conference championship. With only four matches to play the Cougars could ensure at least a share of the crown with a win. San Diego came into the Smithfield house needing a win to keep any hopes of a championship alive. San Diego won the first meeting, in San Diego, in a thrilling five set match and currently hold a 6-3 series lead over the Cougars.
The Cougars and Toreros both came out playing as if they knew exactly what was on the line in the match. BYU scored first, but the teams kept it close before the Cougars pulled away early at 5-3. The Toreros quickly lost control of the game when BYU went on a run that gave BYU a 10-4 lead before a San Diego timeout. The Cougars and Toreros again traded points but back to back aces for Tia Welling gave BYU the 14-6 lead and set the stage for an easy victory. San Diego quickly followed up with three straight points, ending with a service error. Two straight blocks helped the Cougars score three of their own and forcing another timeout with an 18-10 lead. BYU would increase its lead to 12 before Ciara Parker won the set on a service ace, 25-13.
BYU came out strong in the second set and quickly led 3-1. The Cougars would increase their lead to four with the Cougars fifth block of the night, but a Jennifer Hamson service error gave San Diego some hope. The Cougars defense was not ready to let the Toreros back in the game as they continued to rack up the blocks, and momentum, as they took an 11-3 lead. The Cougars would continue to be on fire as they went on an 8-1 run to take a 13-4 lead before San Diego scored two straight. Once again the teams traded points before the fifth Cougars block of the set gave the Cougars a 10-point lead at 18-8. The Toreros finally earned their first service ace of the match to pull within nine, but BYU would not let them get any closer than eight. Amy Boswell was on fire as she recorded her ninth block of the match to keep the Cougars in front 21-12. San Diego went on a small run before the Cougars put them away with an Alexa Gray kill to win the set 25-15.
San Diego came out in the third set intent on not being swept and showed some fire early. Earning a 2-1 lead gave the young Tereros some confidence and allowed them to keep the set close at 3-3. Boswell would quickly change that with her 10th block and a Cougar 6-3 lead. BYU would increase the lead to 8-3, forcing a San Diego timeout. San Diego would come out of the break and go on a 4-0 run, leaving the Cougars holding a one-point lead at 8-7 and calling a timeout. San Diego would tie up the game at 8-8 before BYU stopped the bleeding and took the lead 10-8 on another Parker serving ace. After the Cougars 12th block of the match, the Cougars increased their lead on a 4-1 run. San Diego once again pulled within one at 12-11 before a hitting error gave BYU a point, the momentum, and a three-point lead. The Toreros continued to fight and the Cougars couldn't quite put them away as the lead fluctuated between two and three throughout the set. BYU was content trading points, but San Diego went on a 3-0 run and tied the game at 19. With their third ace of the match, San Diego finally took a lead late as they went up 20-19. BYU would call a timeout before coming out to another block to tie the game, but were unable to stop the Toreros hitters. The game would stay close as the teams tied again at 21. San Diego would pull away for a critical three-point lead and a set point. San Diego would end the set on a 4-0 run to win 25-21 and force a fourth set.
BYU came out strong in the fourth set, not wanting to allow the Toreros any hope of a fifth set. With a quick 3-0 lead, increased to 7-2, the Cougars looked well on their way to the win. Once again, they couldn't put the Toreros away and San Diego came within three at 11-8. Boswell continued to be the story as she protected the net time and time again. Boswell recorded her 17th block, tying the Cougars all-time match high, to put the Cougars up 14-9. After a timeout the Cougars came out and scored two straight as Gray recorded her 18th kill. BYU continued to maintain a comfortable lead as they increased the score to 19-12 and victory was within their grasp. Gray would tie her season high with 20 kills to put the Cougars up 20-13. It appeared that the wheels finally came off for the Toreros as the Cougars built a nine point lead, leaving San Diego worn out. Hamson would give the Cougars match point after a strong kill and an ensuing service ace to put the game away, 25-13.
BYU won their second WCC championship in three years and celebrated on the court with athletic director Tom Holmoe and new BYU president Kevin Worthen. BYU ended up with 21 blocks on the night, adding to their four blocks per set average. Boswell would end with 17 blocks and Camry Willardson added 38 assists to lead the 2014 West Coast Conference Champions.
BYU will next visit Portland on Thursday, November 20th at 8pm MST.