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Cougars lose second in a row

BYU's Chelsea Goodman hits the ball past CSU's Tonya Mokelki in the Cougars' 3-2 loss to Colorado State on Friday at the Marriott Center.
BYU's Chelsea Goodman hits the ball past CSU's Tonya Mokelki in the Cougars' 3-2 loss to Colorado State on Friday at the Marriott Center.
Stuart Johnson, Deseret Morning News

PROVO — After winning 20 consecutive matches to open the season, the BYU women's volleyball team is now experiencing another streak — a dubious one.

Colorado State downed BYU in a five-game thriller, 3-2 (30-28, 30-23, 27-30, 28-30, 17-15) Friday night at the Marriott Center, marking the Cougars' second consecutive defeat. BYU lost for the first time all season last Friday at Utah, 3-0.

Still, it could have been worse for the Cougars — they could have been swept again. They lost the first two games to the Rams before rallying to win games three and four. In game five, CSU outlasted BYU to earn the victory.

"It was a tale of two different games," said Cougar coach Jason Watson. "We didn't take care of any details in the first two games. We did in the third, fourth games. It's very disappointing, especially after we worked so incredibly hard to come back."

CSU improved to 17-6 overall and 9-3 in Mountain West Conference play. BYU dropped to 20-2 and 11-2.

Down 2-0, Watson challenged his team and the Cougars responded, though they ultimately fell short.

The match was played before 3,507 fans, the fourth-largest crowd to watch a BYU women's volleyball game in Provo.

The day after BYU's defeat to Utah, the Smith Fieldhouse was flooded by a broken water pipe. The court was not damaged, but the flooding forced Friday's match to the spacious Marriott Center for a match dubbed the "Flood Special."

Has the Cougars' magic this season being washed away? Watson hopes the answer is no.

"I'm a little worried about (his team's) confidence," he said. "I'm greatly concerned with our ability to pass serve. We spent a lot of time on that this week, but we didn't see the return of our investment that we would have liked. I'm curious to see what happens (Saturday)."

That's when BYU hosts Wyoming (7 p.m.) in its regular-season home finale.

Against CSU, game one was tight throughout as there were 12 ties and five lead changes. In the second game, BYU started strong, but soon allowed CSU to score nine consecutive points. Trailing 17-9, the Cougars clawed their way back, but could not take the lead. They cut the Rams' lead to one a few times, but CSU remained in control and pulled away at the end.

BYU took games three and four, forcing a heart-thumping fifth game. The Cougars led 8-5, but the Rams outscored BYU 7-3 to jump ahead, 12-11. From there, it was a see-saw battle that CSU eventually won.

Freshman Rachel Dyer, who recorded 15 kills, said the new environment, the Marriott Center didn't adversely affect the Cougars. Watson agreed. "The venue didn't have anything to do (with the loss)," he said.