No. 9 BYU remains undefeated in the WCC, sweeping Gonzaga
PROVO, Utah - No. 9 BYU women’s volleyball notched its ninth consecutive sweep, dominating Gonzaga (25-7, 25-20, 25-14) in the Smith Fieldhouse on Saturday.
The Cougars are now 16-1 overall and 6-0 in the West Coast Conference. BYU has swept its last 27 consecutive sets.
Hitting a .472 hitting percentage on 49 kills, the Cougars achieved their highest clip of the season. In comparison, Gonzaga hit a .034 on its 24 kills.
Senior outside hitter Taylen Ballard-Nixon led the Cougars with 10 kills and one ace. Three more Cougars tallied nine kills, including graduate opposite hitter Kenzie Koerber, junior middle blocker Heather Gneiting and sophomore outside hitter Erin Livingston.
Gneiting led the group with a .615 clip and six blocks. To top it off, she achieved two solo blocks in today's performance, celebrating a new career-high tally.
"I thought we played really well, especially since Gonzaga is a really good serving team," Gneiting said. "We passed well and Whitney Bower did a good job of distributing the ball for the all the hitters."
Junior setter Bower contributed to the team by racking up 40 assists, seven digs, three kills and an ace.
BYU opened the match strong with a 4-0 run, including two kills by Eschenberg and an ace by Bower. Three kills by Gonzaga put the team on the board, 11-3. However, BYU tacked on a 5-0 run, thanks to five kills by Ballard-Nixon, Eschenberg and Koerber.
BYU dominated the set winning 25-7. The Cougars finished with a .765 hitting percentage and three players — Eschenberg, Ballard-Nixon and Koerber — hit a perfect 1.000.
The Bulldogs had four consecutive attack errors toward the end of the set. The Cougars tallied 14 kills and a .765 clip. Ultimately, Gonzaga’s -.192 clip could not compete, giving the Cougars a 25-7 set victory.
BYU and Gonzaga went back and forth, exchanging runs and points throughout the second set. The teams took turns leading and stayed within three points of each other. At 17-12, BYU started to break away after three kills by Gneiting and Bower.
The Cougars had two service errors, giving the Bulldogs a chance to catch up at 18-15. Compared to only notching five kills in the first set, Gonzaga more than doubled its kills, achieving 12. This allowed them to rack up 20 points. In the end, three final kills by Livingston and Ballard-Nixon sealed the set victory, 25-20, for BYU.
At the start, Gonzaga led 2-0, however, back-to-back kills by Livingston evened out the score. The teams would tie three other times before BYU managed a 5-0 run after five quick kills, leading 10-5.
Another four kills put BYU ahead, 15-6. An ace and six blocks later extended BYU's lead to 25-14, giving the Cougars their ninth consecutive win.
Up next, BYU will face Loyola Marymount at the Gersten Pavilion on Thursday, Oct. 14 at 7 p.m. PDT.
No. 9 BYU hosts WCC opponents Portland and Gonzaga
PROVO, Utah — No. 9 BYU women's volleyball will host West Coast Conference opponents Portland and Gonzaga this week, on Oct. 7 and Oct. 9, respectively.
On Thursday, the Cougars will face the Pilots in the Smith Fieldhouse. In the program's history, BYU holds a 19-1 record over Portland. On a nine-match winning streak, the Cougars only posted one loss back in Oct. 2016.
On Saturday, BYU will continue conference play and host Gonzaga. The Cougars hold another impressive record of 23-1 against the Bulldogs. BYU last lost to Gonzaga back in Nov. 2011.
No. 9 Brigham Young University Cougars (14-1, 4-0 West Coast Conference)
- The Cougars are on a seven-match winning streak, winning all 21 sets and sweeping each team
- On Monday, the conference dubbed middle blocker Kennedy Eschenberg WCC Defensive Player of the Week
- Junior middle blocker Heather Gneiting ranks No. 3 in the NCAA for hitting percentage, holding a .466 clip
- As a team, BYU ranks No. 2 in the NCAA in opposite hitting percentage (.114), No. 3 in hitting percentage (.324), No. 6 in kills per set (14.31), No. 9 in aces per set (2.04) and No. 20 in assists per set (12.85). Aside from ranking No. 2 in assists per set, the Cougars lead the WCC in the other four categories.
University of Portland Pilots (4-9, 1-3 West Coast Conference)
- Most recently, the Pilots posted two losses at home against Pacific (0-3) and Saint Mary’s (2-3)
- Setter Paloma Bowman ranks No. 6 in the NCAA in triple doubles
- Offensively, Jayde Harris leads the team with 136 kills and 18 service aces
- Defensively, Grace Zilbert leads with 133 digs
- Jiana Lawson has four solo blocks and 24 block assists
Gonzaga University Bulldogs (5-10, 1-3 West Coast Conference)
- Last week, the Bulldogs hosted both Saint Mary’s and Pacific. The team posted a 3-1 win over Saint Mary’s, but fell 1-3 to Pacific.
- Gonzaga ranks No. 13 in the NCAA in aces per set (2) and No. 23 in team service aces (106). The team leads the WCC in the latter category.
- Mckenna Marshall leads the team offensively, racking up 179 kills thus far. Kennedy Croft follows closely behind with 143 kills.
- The team averages 11.1 kills per set, 1.6 blocks per set and holds an average hitting percentage of .199
Broadcast Information – Oct. 7
- Time: 7 p.m. MDT
- Live Stream: BYUtv/BYUtv App
- Live Stats: StatBroadcast
Broadcast Information – Oct. 9
- Time: 12 p.m. MDT
- Live Stream: BYUtv/BYUtv App
- Live Stats: StatBroadcast
Purchase tickets online via byutickets.com.
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.