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Cougars' win over Utes a perfect 10

BYU's Lindsy Hartsock blocks at the net during the Cougars' four-game victory against the Utes Wednesday at Elaine Michaelis Court.
BYU's Lindsy Hartsock blocks at the net during the Cougars' four-game victory against the Utes Wednesday at Elaine Michaelis Court.
Keith Johnson, Deseret Morning News

PROVO — One "perfect 10" ends, while another is reached.

The 20th-ranked BYU women's volleyball team defeated Utah in four games Wednesday night — 24-30, 30-26, 30-24, 30-25 — as the Cougars remained unbeaten with a 10-0 record and ended the Utes' 10-match domination over their instate rivals.

The match was played before an Elaine Michaelis Court crowd of 3,012, the fifth largest to watch the BYU women at the Smith Fieldhouse.

BYU remains atop the Mountain West Conference standings with a 3-0 league mark, while Utah drops to 9-5 overall and 1-2.

For a while Wednesday, it appeared that Utah was on track to post win No. 11 over BYU, as the Utes took the first game over a struggling Cougar squad and then rallied for its first lead in the second game at 26-23 before a BYU timeout.

"The worst thing to do is to panic — but to be honest, I was," said BYU first-year coach Jason Watson. "We just sort of said, 'That's enough — it's time for this streak to end' —hoping that would rally us."

Added BYU outside hitter Erica Lott: "None of us really panicked because coach always says '(Be) good over time.' "

The Cougars racked up seven straight points to win their first game, then took games 3 and 4 to notch the victory.

"BYU played a nice match," said Utah coach Beth Launiere. "They got stronger as the match went on. We just didn't sustain."

Having lost a half-dozen key players off last year's defending MWC title squad, she calls her team "a work in progress this season still. ... It wasn't about the (10-win) run tonight, it was about where this team is in their development this season."

For the match, Chelsea Goodman logged 17 kills and Lott and Lindsy Hartsock added 16 and 13, respectively for BYU, which hit .230 as a team and outblocked Utah 14-12.

Shelly Sommerfeldt led Utah with 16 kills, pushing her over the 1,000-kill mark for her career. Lori Baird added 14 and Airial Salvo 12 for the Utes, which hit .321 in the first game but went downhill from there, ending at .193 for the match.

It was BYU's first win over Utah since Sept. 20, 2001.

In Wednesday's first game, Utah posted a 30-24 triumph, leading by that six-point advantage through most of the match as the Cougars never mounted much of a run. The U. outhit BYU .286 to .194, despite a five-kill effort from Lott.

BYU evened the match at 1-all, overcoming the 26-23 deficit late in the second game. But the Cougars rallied to tie the score at 26-all before a Lauren Evans ace and three kills by Hartsock put the Utes away at 30-26.

The Cougars became the aggressors in the third game, keeping the lead from the first point to the final 30-24 score. BYU coupled five blocks in that game alone, along with a hitting-percentage margin of .333 to Utah's .158.

The fourth game was much like the previous one: BYU enjoying a lead throughout much of the game in a match of low hitting percentages — .146 for the Cougars and .062 for the Utes.

Both teams face TCU in home matches this weekend — BYU Friday night and Utah Saturday on Crimson Court.