After watching her 14th-ranked BYU women’s volleyball team get steamrolled in the first set by rival No. 16 Utah on Thursday night, Cougars coach Heather Olmstead turned to Kamehameha alumna Alohi Robins-Hardy to turn the tide.
The BYU senior did exactly what her coach hoped, rallying the Cougars to a thrilling 16-25, 25-13, 25-17, 20-25, 18-16 win over the Utes in Salt Lake City.
Robins-Hardy, who has played in exactly half (19) of the team’s 38 sets this season, posted a double-double of a team-high 28 assists and 10 digs and added two kills for BYU, which is now 9-1 this season.
With players on both sides of the net from Hawaii, Robins-Hardy helped the Cougars hit .277 for the match after hitting .250 in a first set dominated by the Utes.
“Alohi did a good job distributing the ball,” Olmstead said in a story posted by the Daily Herald. “We were able to spread the offense out and we got our hitters in rhythm. I thought she dug some balls and had a calming presence in the back row. I love her leadership and I loved her kill to end the match.”
The 6-foot-2 setter has started nine games in her BYU career, including six as a freshman, when she played outside hitter and helped BYU reach the NCAA title match against Penn State.
Her playing time has decreased over the last two seasons, but she was there ready to roll when called on against Utah. Her second kill was the final point of the match.
“I saw the ball come over the net and said, ‘I’m going to hit this ball.’” Robins-Hardy told Daily Herald reporter Darnell Dickson. “Senior year, playing Utah at Utah, it’s a beautiful thing. To go out with this win for this team is just amazing.”
Utah fell to 8-2 despite senior outside hitter Adora Anae posting her fourth double-double of the season. The 2014 Kahuku alumna had 13 kills and 12 digs to go along with a solo block and two block assists. Sophomore setter Bailey Choy (‘Iolani ’16) finished with a season-high 54 assists, nine digs, two kills, an ace and a block assist.