After all the drama and emotion, Wichita State’s Emily Adney summed it up by smiling and giving it up to her opponent.
BYU slipped past Wichita State 3-2 (25-15, 24-26, 25-17, 24-26, 18-16) on Friday at Koch Arena in the Shocker Volleyball Classic. The taller Cougars pounded out a .287 attack percentage and at times overpowered the Shockers. Jennifer Hamson, a 6-foot-7 right-side who plays all six rotations, controlled the match with 25 kills.
“You don’t play against 6-7 every day,” Adney said. “When I’m 6-2 and I’ve got someone blatantly putting the ball down on top of me, I don’t know what else to do about that. It just happens.”
WSU coach Chris Lamb looked at the numbers and felt pleased his team forced the match to a fifth set. The Shockers (3-2) hit .198 for the match and committed 12 service errors. BYU outblocked WSU 15-8. When the Cougars (4-0) ran their offense, they found Hamson often. When she didn’t swing, Alexa Gray (20 kills) and Jessica Jardine (10 kills) did plenty of damage.
“We’re not going to see a better three-hitter set than that,” Lamb said. “When I break down this tape and we see how dominant they were (on offense), it’s kind of cool that we were as close as we were.”
Hamson recorded seven kills in the second set, six in the third and five in the fourth. Gray rescued BYU in the fifth with seven of her kills on 11 swings.
“It’s nice to be tested sometimes,” BYU coach Shawn Halstead said. “We’d like to be in system more because I think we can be even better. We’re physical enough to bang our way out of some situations that we find ourselves in sometimes because we’re not that good at ball control.”
WSU forced a fifth set by rallying from a 15-12 deficit in the fourth. Freshman MaryAshton Floyd, who didn’t play in Thursday’s win over No. 24 Colorado State, came off the bench to score three points late in the set and record a service ace. WSU took a 19-18 lead and forced a BYU timeout, after which music interrupted a WSU serve. Lamb snapped on the man running the music and later apologized and shook his hand. That didn’t stop WSU’s from pulling away. Two kills by Floyd put it up 21-20 and her ace made it 23-21. Adney finished off the set with another ace for a 26-24 win.
“Serving tough was huge for us tonight,” WSU libero Jackie Church said. “We got their setter off the net, so that made our blockers able to go out and read the ball and our diggers to get into position.”
The Shockers trailed early in the fifth set before Elizabeth Field’s kill gave them a 9-8 lead. They upped that to 13-10 on a kill by Adney. A service error broke that run and the Cougars tied it 13-all. WSU took its last lead on a precision serve by Adney off a diving defender, going up 16-15. Jardine responded with a kill to tie it. The Cougars won by blocking kill attempts by Ashley Andrade and Floyd.
“They put the ball down when they needed to,” Church said.