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Joseph Hovey | Posted: 25 Sep 2021 | Updated: 16 Oct 2021
Joseph Hovey

No. 11 BYU notches fifth consecutive sweep, overpowering Saint Mary's

Kenzie Koerber arises for the kill versus Saint Mary's.

PROVO, Utah – No. 11 BYU women’s volleyball erased an early third set deficit to sweep Saint Mary’s (25-18, 25-17, 25-18) on Saturday in the Smith Fieldhouse.

“We fought really hard," said BYU opposite hitter Kenzie Koerber. "They came out and went on a 6-0 run in the third set, and we could have either folded or fought back like we did. We take a lot of pride in focusing on one point at a time and not getting too ahead of ourselves.”

Koerber led the Cougars with 16 kills, five blocks and a hitting percentage of .500.

Junior middle blocker Heather Gneiting and middle blocker Kennedy Eschenberg each contributed eight kills, while Eschenberg complimented Koerber’s defense with five blocks of her own. Freshman opposite hitter Sophia Callahan hit .714 clip, tacking on five kills.

The Cougars exceeded their average with 16.3 kills per set and a .404 hitting percentage. Senior setter Taylor Hifo and sophomore libero Madi Allen recorded four of BYU’s six service aces.

Saint Mary’s middle blocker Jennifer Laird entered Saturday’s match as the West Coast Conference’s third-leading blocker, averaging 1.31 per set. BYU's defense left Laird block-less while holding her to three kills and a .125 hitting percentage.

An early 2-0 lead from the Gaels proved to be brief as the Cougars broke out on an 8-1 run, thanks to kills from Koerber and blocks from senior outside hitter Taylen Ballard-Nixon and Gneiting. Even with five errors, BYU maintained its lead, boasting 19 kills over Saint Mary's five. A final kill by Eschenberg closed the set with the Cougars in front, 25-18.

Blocks from Eschenberg, Koerber and freshman outside hitter Elyse Stowell put BYU ahead, 7-3. However, a 5-0 run by Saint Mary’s put them in the lead 8-7. This was short-lived, as the Cougars tied it back up at 8-8.

One point later, BYU took the lead and never gave it up. BYU’s offense outplayed the Gaels, holding them to a .081 hitting percentage. A few digs by junior setter Whitney Bower and another block by Koerber and Eschneberg sealed the win, 25-17.

Saint Mary’s came out swinging, managing a 6-0 run. Two straight aces from Allen put BYU on the board. An 8-0 run by the Cougars followed. Callahan quickly contributed four kills to compliment blocks from Eschenberg and Koerber. Eschenberg put away the Gaels for good with a final kill that gave BYU the set, 25-18, and completed the sweep. 

Next week, BYU (12-1, 2-0) hits the road for conference play at Santa Clara and San Francisco. First up, the Cougars will face the Broncos on Thursday, Sept. 30 at 6 p.m. PDT.


Natalie Orr | Posted: 20 Sep 2021 | Updated: 12 Oct 2021
Natalie Orr

No. 11 BYU heads into conference play this week


PROVO, Utah — No. 11 BYU women's volleyball will host West Coast Conference foes Pacific and Saint Mary’s, this week with matchups on Sept. 23 and 25 respectively. 

On Thursday, the Cougars will host the Tigers in the Smith Fieldhouse. BYU holds an 18-7 all-time record, including a 16-match winning streak against them. The last time Pacific defeated the Cougars was in 1996. 

BYU will host Saint Mary’s on Saturday. The Cougars hold a 19-6 all-time record against the Gaels. BYU triumphed in the last 14 matches, last losing to Saint Mary’s in 2013. 

No. 11 Brigham Young University Cougars (10-1 0-0 West Coast Conference)

  • Last week, BYU swept both of its opponents: No. 10 University of Utah at home and Utah Valley University on the road
  • Junior middle blocker Heather Gneiting continues to rank No. 2 in the NCAA for hitting percentage, holding a .500 clip
  • As a team, BYU ranks No. 3 in the NCAA in hitting percentage (.320), No. 7 in kills per set (14.42), No. 10 in aces per set (2.11) and No. 15 in opposite hitting percentage (.132). The Cougars lead the WCC in all four categories. 
  • The Cougars have swept nine of their eleven opponents this season

University of the Pacific Tigers (3-8, 0-0 West Coast Conference)

  • Most recently, the Tigers competed at the Arizona State Tournament. The team suffered 3-1 losses to both ASU and UNLV.
  • Pacific ranks No.1 in the WCC in the following categories: digs per set, team assists, team attacks, team digs, team kills and team total attacks
  • Alexa Edwards leads the conference in attacks per set (12.14), total attacks (510) and total kills (176)
  • Jadyn Tubbs leads the conference with 197 total digs this season

Saint Mary’s College of California Gaels (6-3, 0-0 West Coast Conference)

  • Last week, the Gaels faced both Cal and UC Davis. After losing 3-1 to Cal, Saint Mary’s swept UC Davis.
  • For the season, the Gaels swept four of their nine opponents. They hold a .238 hitting percentage. 
  • Elena Baka leads the team offensively, notching 98 kills and 10 aces. Defensively, Ella Sandt boasts 176 assists and 47 digs. 

Broadcast Information – Sept. 23

Broadcast Information – Sept. 25


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Consistent with current Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and BYU requirements, BYU Athletics will require masks in indoor venues when physical distancing isn’t maintained. This includes a requirement for those attending indoor athletic events, such as volleyball in the Smith Fieldhouse and inside the loges at LaVell Edwards Stadium. Wearing a mask will be required for entry to indoor BYU venues. Masks will not be required for outdoor BYU venues.

BYU strongly urges students, employees and campus guests to follow recent counsel from the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to get vaccinated and wear masks.

The university will continue to monitor the situation and will reevaluate mask requirements at the end of September based on several factors including the immunization rate of the campus community, COVID-19 transmission and hospitalization rates, and guidance from health and government officials.