Brigham Young University
Jan 26 | 12:00 PM
3 - 0
University of Portland
Chiles Center

Portsmouth Ave Portland OR 97203

Braden Taylor | Posted: 26 Jan 2021 | Updated: 15 Feb 2021
Braden Taylor

No. 16 BYU Sweeps Portland in Season Opener

Taylen Ballard-Nixon vs SMC 2019

PORTLAND, Ore. – Senior Taylen Ballard-Nixon tied her career high of 14 kills to lead No. 16 BYU women’s volleyball to a sweep (25-9, 25-22, 25-17) against Portland in its season opener at the Chiles Center on Tuesday.

Ballard-Nixon recorded the match-high 14 kills on a .393 clip while adding seven digs and a pair of aces to her stat line. Sophomore opposite Kate Grimmer also reached double-digit kills with 10 on a .348 hitting percentage.

Sophomore setter Whitney Bower had 32 assists while helping the Cougars finish with a .379 team hitting percentage. Bower matched her career high of 18 digs and freshman libero Madi Allen totaled 17 digs in her first collegiate match. BYU’s strong defensive performance held Portland to a .108 hitting percentage.

Final Box Score - BYU vs. Portland 1-26-21

Set One

BYU (1-0, 1-0 WCC) opened the first set of the match with an 8-0 run against Portland (0-1, 0-1 WCC), showing no rust from the extended offseason. The Cougars continued to dominate the set, extending their lead to 15-4. Grimmer led the squad with five kills while Ballard-Nixon recorded four kills of her own. BYU hit .500 in the first set while holding Portland to a -.034 hitting percentage to take the first set 25-9.

Set Two

The second game was much more competitive to start than the first. Both teams went back and forth, tying the set at 10-all. Portland then scored three-straight points to break the deadlock and take the advantage. Three kills from freshman outside hitter Leilani Dodson helped BYU even the score up while an ace by Ballard-Nixon gave the Cougars the 23-22 lead. Two late errors cost the Pilots and completed the BYU comeback, 25-22.

Set Three

The third set featured five lead changes before the Cougars took control of the game, 12-11. A pair of kills by both Ballard-Nixon and senior middle blocker Kennedy Eschenberg helped BYU increase its lead to 23-14. Kills by Dodson and Grimmer secured the set, 25-17, and the sweep over Portland.

The Cougars and Pilots will play the second match of the two-match series Wednesday, Jan. 27, at 12 p.m. PST at the Chiles Center. The match will be broadcast live on the WCC Network.

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Braden Taylor | Posted: 25 Jan 2021 | Updated: 27 Jan 2021
Braden Taylor

Season Opens Tuesday at Portland

Kennedy Eschenberg 2021 Blue White

PROVO, Utah – No. 16 BYU women’s volleyball will open its 2020-21 season with a two-match series against Portland at the Chiles Center Jan. 26-27.

The first match is set to start at 12 p.m. PST on Tuesday, Jan. 26, and the second match will take place at the same time on the following day, Wednesday, Jan. 27. Both matches will be streamed on the WCC Network.

No. 16 BYU Cougars (0-0, 0-0 WCC)

  • BYU ranked No. 16 in the AVCA preseason poll, marking 106-straight weeks of appearing in the national poll
  • Since NCAA play began in 1981, the Cougars are 32-7 in season openers
  • BYU finished No. 17 in the final poll after finishing with a 26-5 record and claiming its eighth-straight NCAA Tournament berth
  • The squad features 11 returnees, including AVCA All-America honoree Kennedy Eschenberg, and four newcomers
  • The Cougars went 16-2 in WCC play to finish second in the conference last season
  • The WCC coaches picked the Cougars to finish second in the league in the preseason poll while selecting middle blocker Kennedy Eschenberg, outside hitter Taylen Ballard-Nixon and setter Whitney Bower to the All-WCC Preseason Team
  • BYU's 2020-21 Season Preview
  • BYU Match Notes

Series Information:

  • BYU is 17-1 all-time against Portland
  • The Cougars have swept the Pilots seven-straight times since losing their only match in the series in 2016

Portland Pilots (0-0, 0-0 WCC)

  • Portland is led by first-year head coach Megan Burton
  • This year’s roster features five newcomers and eight returning members from the 2019 squad
  • The Pilots played two exhibition matches this season, losing 3-1 to No. 8 Washington and sweeping Corban
  • Portland ended the 2019 season with an 11-18 overall record
  • The Pilots finished 10th of the 2019 WCC standings after going 3-15 in league play
  • The WCC coaches picked the Pilots to finish 10th in the league in the preseason poll and selected outside hitter Liz Reich to the All-WCC Preseason Team

Broadcast Information – January 26

Broadcast Information – January 27

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