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No. 8 BYU edges Loyola Marymount in a 3-1 road victory
LOS ANGELES, Calif. - No. 8 BYU women’s volleyball secured a victory on Thursday night in a four-set match (22-25, 25-16, 25-22, 25-18) against Loyola Marymount in the Gersten Pavilion.
The win gives BYU its tenth consecutive victory, now holding a 17-1 record and an undefeated 7-0 record in the West Coast Conference.
BYU hit a .348 hitting percentage, overpowering LMU’s .176. Additionally, the Cougars racked up nine points blocking, surpassing LMU by 7.5 points.
Junior middle blocker Heather Gneiting led the team with 12 kills on the night, hitting a .474 clip. Two other Cougars slammed double-digit kills, including senior outside hitter Taylen Ballard-Nixon (11) and sophomore outside hitter Erin Livingston (10).
The set started off with errors on both sides until LMU’s Audrey Klemp achieved the first kill of the set, tying the score 2-2. Ballard-Nixon laid down two kills for BYU, but the Lions continued to lead 6-4.
BYU managed a 2-0 run after two errors by LMU, but three more errors by the Cougars inhibited them from moving ahead at 10-6. Almost every point, aside from four combined kills amongst the teams, resulted from an error. After another two errors by LMU and a kill by opposite hitter Kenzie Koerber, the Cougars tied the score at 12-12.
Cleaning up play, the Lions notched three consecutive kills, taking back the lead at 15-12. In addition to three combined kills from Ballard-Nixon and Gneiting, libero Gretchen Reinert celebrated her first kill as a Cougar at 19-17.
Ultimately, the Lions put up 13 kills, compared to BYU’s 10, allowing LMU to take the set win at 25-22. This was BYU’s first set loss since losing to Pitt back on Sept. 10, snapping a string of 27 consecutive set victories.
Under pressure, the Cougars started off with two quick kills by Koerber and Gneiting, leading 3-2. The Lions challenged back with two kills, tying up the score at 4-4.
BYU broke the tie by managing a 6-0 run, its longest of the match, thanks to two aces and three kills coming from Gneiting, Koerber and junior setter Whitney Bower.
The teams traded kills until BYU led by eight points at 21-13. Tack on three kills by Livingston and the Cougars took the set win at 25-16.
Four errors by LMU and kills by Koerber and Ballard-Nixon allowed BYU to take the lead 6-3. Bower and Livingston added two kills, but LMU remained close behind at 9-6. Four Cougars added kills, extending the lead to 16-11.
At 20-15, Gneiting achieved her tenth kill of the night, matching her season-high tally. At game point, BYU made four consecutive attack errors, reducing its lead to 24-22. A bad set by LMU gave BYU its final point, securing a second set win of 25-22.
BYU started the set going up 3-0, including an ace and a kill by middle blocker Kennedy Eschenberg. LMU made it on the board with a kill, but followed with two errors, trailing 5-1. Ballard-Nixon notched two consecutive kills, but another two attack errors by the Cougars brought the score to 8-5.
Kills by Bower, Ballard-Nixon and Livingston extended the lead to 13-7. LMU’s Megan Rice tallied her 11th kill of night at 13-8, leading in kills overall.
Gneiting achieved a new season-high kill count of 12 at 19-13, followed with another kill by Livingston. After LMU’s 24th attack error of the night, BYU secured a hard-fought win at 25-18.
Next up, No. 24 Pepperdine will host BYU on Saturday, Oct. 16 at 12 p.m. PDT in the Firestone Fieldhouse.
No. 8 BYU hits the road to face LMU and Pepperdine
PROVO, Utah — On a nine-match winning streak, No. 8 BYU women's volleyball hits the road for a week of West Coast Conference play, facing both Loyola Marymount and No. 24 Pepperdine.
The last time BYU received a ranking this high was back in 2018.
On Thursday, Oct. 14, at 7 p.m. PDT, LMU will host BYU in the Gersten Pavilion. On a five-match winning streak, the Cougars hold a 20-2 all-time record over the Lions.
On Saturday, Oct. 16, at 12 p.m. PDT, BYU will face Pepperdine in the Firestone Fieldhouse. The Cougars have a record of 29-10 all-time against the Waves. The teams last met in February, where BYU narrowly escaped with a 3-2 win.
No. 8 Brigham Young University Cougars (16-1, 6-0 West Coast Conference)
- The Cougars are on a nine-match winning streak, sweeping the last 27 sets and remain undefeated in WCC play
- On Monday, the WCC dubbed junior setter Whitney Bower Offensive Player of the Week
- Junior middle blocker Heather Gneiting ranks No. 2 in the NCAA for hitting percentage, holding a .483 clip
- As a team, BYU ranks No. 1 in the NCAA in hitting percentage (.337), No. 2 in opponent hitting percentage (.106), No. 3 in kills per set (14.50), No. 4 in match winning percentage (.941), No. 11 in assists per set (13.15) and No. 12 in aces per set (2.00). BYU leads the WCC in all these categories.
Loyola Marymount University Lions (14-2, 5-1 West Coast Conference)
- Last week, the Lions faced WCC opponents on the road, snagging wins against both Saint Mary’s (3-2) and Pacific (3-2)
- LMU holds a 5-1 record in the WCC, only falling to Pepperdine on Oct. 2
- As a team, LMU ranks No. 10 in the NCAA for match winning percentage (.875), No. 20 in hitting percentage (.269) and No. 28 in aces per set (1.82)
- Within the WCC, the team ranks No. 1 in team assists (765). Isabella Bareford leads the conference with 649 assists and ranks No. 33 in the NCAA.
No. 24 Pepperdine University Waves (13-2, 5-1 West Coast Conference)
- Last week, the Waves faced WCC opponents, Pacific and Saint Mary’s. Pepperdine posted a 3-2 loss against Pacific, but finished the week with a sweep over Saint Mary’s.
- Pepperdine ranks No. 15 in the NCAA for match winning percentage (.867), No. 29 for aces per set (1.82) and No. 35 in hitting percentage (.255)
- Rachel Ahrens ranks No. 4 in the NCAA for points per set (5.62), No. 6 in service aces (36), No. 7 in aces per set (.60) and No. 8 in total points (337). She leads the WCC in all four categories.
Broadcast Information – Oct. 14
- Time: 7 p.m. PDT
- Live Stream: WCC Network
- Live Stats: StatBroadcast
Broadcast Information – Oct. 16
- Time: 12 p.m. PDT
- Live Stream: WCC Network
- Live Stats: StatBroadcast
Purchase tickets online for Thursday here and tickets for Saturday here. Both venues require a face covering during all times of the match.