SAN DIEGO — Fittingly, the match ended with a birthday ball for Lisa Kramer, who crushed it to the Jenny Craig Pavilion floor for her 18th kill, sending No. 11 BYU home on the short end of a surprising sweep by No. 6 San Diego 25-20, 25-23, 25-23 in a Friday-night battle between the West Coast Conference frontrunners.
“It was a great match,” BYU coach Heather Olmstead said. “San Diego played well. We had a couple of leads and couldn’t capitalize. We battled and fought but San Diego made a few more plays than us.”
San Diego had its biggest crowd of the season, 1,752, and saw the Toreros rally from being down 19-14 in the third set.
“The energy in the gym was insane tonight,” said USD sophomore outside Lauren Fuller, who had 11 kills, hit .348 and had five digs. “Not just from the fans but the team just had this momentum coming into the match. We’ve been playing so well that nothing could stop us.”
Nothing could stop Kramer, a senior with a heavy arm who quickly is becoming a star.
Kramer, normally an outside, played right side. Because even with all the success her team has had so far, USD coach Jennifer Petrie made some major changes, which included going from a 6-2 to a 5-1 and moving Kramer from the left side to the right.
“I’m super proud of the girls and the way they came out today,” said Petrie, whose Toreros have won 12 in a row and improved to 13-3 overall, 4-0 in the WCC. “It was a challenging match, we started with a different lineup and it’s exciting when we can switch things up and try different things and people in different places and it works.”
Kramer hit .538 and had two blocks. And junior setter Kristen Gengenbacher had 41 assists and seven digs.
“We came out super confident,” said Kramer, pointing out the rivalry. “I think both teams came out fired up to play each other we came out with this incredible energy that carried us throughout.”
Thana Fayad added eight kills and hit .353 and Kaity Edwards had nine kills, hit .389, and had four blocks, one solo.
“We’ve been home a lot and it means we’re going to be on the road a lot the second half of the season,” said Petrie, whose team is 9-0 at home. “And that’s always difficult. With the attitude in our gym and the energy and spirit of the fans we have it’s been nice to be home, but we have a lot of tough matches on the road.”
First, however, are two more WCC home matches, next Thursday against Pacific and Saturday against Saint Mary’s before heading to Gonzaga and Portland starting October 13.
BYU, 14-2 — its only other loss was in five to Utah — is 3-1 in the WCC.
Amy Boswell led the Cougars with a season-high 16 kills in 25 swings while hitting.520. The big senior middle also had two service aces and two blocks. Freshman libero Mary Lake had seven digs, senior middle Whitney Howard added four kills and four blocks and sophomore Lacy Haddock had eight kills.
BYU returns home to play Saint Mary’s on Thursday.
The USD-BYU rematch is October 28 in Provo.