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BYU volleyball tops New Mexico State 3-0 to advance in NCAA Tournament

Nov. 30, 2012

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PROVO, Utah --- The No. 12-seeded BYU women's volleyball team swiftly took care of New Mexico State 3-0 (25-8, 25-17, 25-14) in the first round of the NCAA tournament Friday at the Smith Fieldhouse.

"I'm just so happy for these kids," BYU head coach Shawn Olmstead said. "They followed our game plan. They came out exactly the way we wanted them to. Our number one key tonight was to put the pressure on them. They got their hands in front of the attackers and made a bunch of nice digs in the back row. I'm overall really, really pleased with them staying the course."

Junior opposite hitter Jennifer Hamson led the Cougar attack with a double-double, 13 kills and 12 digs, for her eighth time this season. Senior middle blocker Nicole Warner led BYU in blocks, with eight, and hitting percentage, .714, while senior setter Heather Hannemann rallied for 28 assists.

BYU (27-3, 13-3 WCC) had the advantage against New Mexico State (22-11, 12-6 WAC) in kills (38-22), blocks (12-5) and digs (39-23).

The Cougars jumped out on top with three straight points to kick off the first set. A kill from Warner sparked a 9-0 rally that put BYU on top 12-2. Freshman outside hitter Kimberly Dahl contributed three kills during the run. The teams exchanged points until two back-to-back kills by freshman outside hitter Alexa Gray and Hamson moved the score to 22-7 in the Cougars' favor. New Mexico State attempted a comeback with three straight points, but it wasn't enough as a kill by Hamson brought BYU within one of the set victory. Nicole Warner finished the set off on the next point with a kill to overpower the Aggies, 25-8, and take a 1-0 lead.

After being down 4-2 early in the second set, the Cougars worked their way back and Hamson tied the match at 5-5 with a kill that sparked a 4-0 run. A block by Hamson and Warner moved the Cougars ahead 15-10. Another 6-0 run, aided by three Hamson kills, padded BYU's lead to 20-11. The Aggies managed five of the next seven points to work their way within six. With BYU ahead 23-17, Dahl finished off a long rally to bring up the set point. The Cougars grabbed the second set, 25-17, with a kill by Gray.

The duo of Hamson and Warner blocked New Mexico State to move in front 3-0 to start the third set. Down 5-1, the Aggies scored four straight to tie the set. The Cougars switched the momentum back in their favor, taking the next two to regain the lead. BYU ran away with it from there with three consecutive kills by Hamson, Gray and Hannemann. They then scored another three points in a row to extend the lead to 16-9. The Cougars moved in front 22-14 as Warner registered another block and kill. Following a Hamson kill, sophomore libero Tia Withers wrapped up the set, 25-14, and match with an ace.

"I think that's a good team [New Mexico State] who was on a nice little roll there," Olmstead said. "[NMSU coach] Mike Jordan does a great job. He's comfortable here in the NCAA Tournament and they were playing well through that WAC Championship."

BYU advances to the second round of the NCAA Tournament against Oklahoma Saturday at 7 p.m. MST at the Smith Fieldhouse. The match will be broadcast on BYUtv and live streamed on byutvsports.com.

"I'm excited for these kids and it's right where I think they deserve to be," Olmstead added.

Courtesy of BYU Sports Information