PALO ALTO, Calif. (Sept. 6, 2007) - It was a tale of two halves for the No. 9 BYU women's volleyball team as it fell in four games to No. 17 Cal Poly Thursday night to open the Stanford Invitational. After taking the opening frame 30-22 and leading throughout game two, the Cougars could not come up with the victory, falling 30-26, 30-21, 30-24 in the final three games of the match and dropping to 5-1 on the year.
"We didn't play in a way that is reflective of our personality and identity," said BYU head coach Jason Watson. "We struggled all night long to maintain our focus and to take care of the details that we needed to. Cal Poly pressured us all night long, and we didn't find a way to respond."
Senior outside hitter Chelsea Goodman provided the silver lining for the Cougars as she posted her 38th career double-double with a team-leading 17 kills and 18 digs. Juniors Bryn Porter and Rachel Dyer were also in double figures offensively with 12 kills each. Senior Annie Pinegar added a season-high 25 digs, the second time this year she has topped the 20-dig mark. Sophomore Ashton Hansen put up eight blocks, while Erica Lott tallied six.
As a team, the Cougars hit .194 for the match and recorded 57 kills, 62 digs and 12 blocks while the Mustangs hit .212 on the night and posted 64 winners, 72 digs and seven rejections.
BYU got off to a strong start with a 30-22 game-one win that was all Cougars all the way. After an early 11-6 BYU lead, the Mustangs got within one point at 14-13 but were thwarted by a 9-1 Cougar spurt that allowed BYU to run away with it. Goodman recorded six kills and seven digs in the game while Dyer put down four winners on six swings. The BYU block also came up big as Lott and Hansen each recorded four rejections and the Cougars posted five team blocks while holding Cal Poly to a .039 hitting percentage and no blocks.
Game two looked like it would be more of the same as BYU ran off six straight points to take a 9-6 early lead that would stretch to 15-9. Cal Poly fought back to within two at 16-14 with back-to-back service aces from Caitlin Suttich, but the Cougars ran off four straight points including two aces from Kiana Rogers to take a 20-14 advantage. However, with BYU up 22-17, the Mustangs began to make their move, turning a negative hitting percentage into a positive one and climbing back to tie the game at 25-25. A lift call gave the Cougars a 26-25 lead, but it would be the last point scored by BYU as Cal Poly ran off five straight points to take the game 30-26.
The momentum shift was clear as game three got underway. Cal Poly used its strong run at the end of game two to carry it in the third frame, and the Cougars struggled on all sides of the ball after having their way in the first two games. An early 10-6 Mustang lead quickly turned into a 23-13 advantage that the Cougars could not fight back from, leading to the 30-21 Cal Poly win. BYU hit just .111 in the third frame after recording marks of .237 and .300 in the first two periods and recorded two blocks after posting eight through games one and two. Meanwhile, the Mustangs hit a match-high .385 in game three after posting marks of .039 and .211 early on and upped their block total from one to six.
The urgency was almost tangible in game four as the Cougars dug in with their backs against the wall. The two teams battled for every point as BYU was able to stay one step ahead of the hungry Mustangs. However, a 15-13 Cougar lead was reversed by a 4-1 Cal Poly run, and suddenly it was BYU fighting to stay alive. The Cougars never led again as the Mustangs held on for the 30-24 win.
BYU will continue play in the Stanford Invitational on Friday with a 4:30 p.m. PST (5:30 MST) match against Saint Mary's. The action can be followed on BYU Radio or via live stats, both of which are available by going to the schedule page of the BYU women's volleyball homepage at http://www.byucougars.com/volleyball\_w/.