In a seesaw battle between two conference powerhouses, the Brigham Young Cougars defeated CSU in five games, 28-30, 30-28, 30-27, 23-30, 15-11.
The Cougars (10-1, 2-0), who are the 19th-ranked team in the nation, were led by All-Mountain West first teamer, Erica Lott, who had 26 kills. CSU (5-6, 0-2) was led by outside hitter Tonya Mokelki, who had a career high 21 kills and outside hitter Katherine Whitney, who tied a season high with 16 kills.
Head Coach Tom Hilbert was impressed by the fight of his team against the nationally ranked Cougars.
“This match was big. A week from now everyone will look and just see the wins and losses but we learned a lot about ourselves tonight,” Hilbert said. “We can play with a team like this.”
Mokelki was also happy with the team’s effort.
“We are disappointed we lost, but we are not mad because we played so well,” Mokelki said. “We played so much better than last night.”
Despite holding reigning conference player of the year to just 6 kills, CSU was unable to overcome the onslaught of Lott and fellow All-Mountain first teamer Chelsea Goodman combined for 46 out of BYU’s 72 total kills.
For the second straight night, CSU was playing in front of a raucous crowd. Mokelki, however, enjoyed playing before a crowd of 2,406.
“I am the kind of player that feeds off of the crowd. I get real emotional and pumped up when the crowd gets into it,” Mokelki said.
In the fifth and deciding game, CSU was never able to gain momentum as BYU made quick work of the Rams, 15-11. Lott finished out her career night with 4 kills.
The fourth game saw CSU get out early and not relinquish its lead, beating BYU 30-23. Whitney and Mokelki were able to constantly kill balls over the taller BYU defenders. The tandem combined for 9 out of the Rams’ 17 kills.
In a back-and-forth third game, BYU was able to overcome the firepower of Mokelki, defeating the Rams 30-27. Mokelki had 4 kills, while Jaime Strauss chipped in with 4 digs.
The second game was another nail-biter with the Cougars taking it by the score of 30-28. Leading BYU was Lott, who had 6 kills to go along with her 3 blocks.
CSU came out strong taking the first game from the Cougars, 30-28. Pacing the Rams was middle blocker Tessa Nelson with 5 kills.
Check Monday’s Collegian for more coverage of the Utah Volleyball road trip.