Gonzaga University
Nov 04 | 06:00 PM
0 - 3
Brigham Young University
Charlotte Y. Martin Centre

710 E Lower Kennedy Dr. Spokane WA 99258

Natalie Orr | Posted: 4 Nov 2021 | Updated: 22 Nov 2021
Natalie Orr

Bower’s career milestone leads No. 6 BYU past Gonzaga

No. 6 BYU

SPOKANE, Wash. – Celebrating its 15th consecutive win, No. 6 BYU women’s volleyball took down Gonzaga (25-9, 25-19, 25-21) in the Charlotte Y. Martin Centre on Thursday.

For the season, BYU now holds a 22-1 overall record and remains undefeated in the West Coast Conference at 12-0.

BYU racked up 44 kills, compared to Gonzaga’s 28. Defensively, the Cougars held the Bulldogs to a .128 hitting percentage, achieving nine blocks.

BYU junior setter Whitney Bower achieved a career-milestone of 2,500 career assists. This ranks Bower as No. 6 for all-time assists in BYU history. To top it off, she tallied a double-double for the night, boasting 27 assists and 12 digs. 

Senior outside hitter Taylen Ballard-Nixon and sophomore outside hitter Erin Livingston topped the leaderboard with nine kills each. Junior middle blocker Heather Gneiting followed with eight kills of her own and the highest clip amongst the team, a .538.

BYU started the match strong with a quick 5-0 run, thanks to four kills by four different Cougars. Consecutively, graduate opposite hitter Kenzie Koerber, Bower and Gneiting all notched kills, extending BYU’s lead to 10-3.

Gonzaga’s Cara McKenzie laid down two kills, but graduate middle blocker Kennedy Eschenberg, Livingston and Bower followed suit, putting BYU ahead 14-7. 

BYU tacked on three more kills and an ace from sophomore libero Madi Allen. The combination of seven attack errors by Gonzaga and a .556 clip by BYU ultimately gave the Cougars a set win at 25-9.

BYU quickly racked up a 4-0 run after two kills by Koerber and a service ace by Bower. The Bulldogs barely squeezed in a kill before Koerber laid down another two, widening the gap to 6-1.

The playing field leveled out as the teams traded kills and errors. This continued the entirety of the set. Gonzaga made a comeback, trailing by only four points at 22-18. However, three final errors by the Bulldogs allowed BYU to get ahead, winning the set at 25-19.

The first tie of the night occurred after quick kills by Livingston and Gonzaga’s Juliette Russell. The tie proved to be short-lived after BYU racked up a 4-0 run, finalized with a kill by Koerber. 

Gonzaga managed a 2-0 run, but BYU followed with three kills by Ballard-Nixon, Gneiting and Livingston. Both teams gradually tacked on points until the Bulldogs only trailed 14-13. 

The momentum shifted with a kill by Ballard-Nixon. Livingston, Bower and Gneiting all followed with kills of their own, putting BYU seven points ahead at 20-13. 

Gonzaga continued to fight with a 3-0 run. However, this effort failed to close the gap, allowing BYU to secure the win for the night at 25-21.

Up next, Portland will host BYU in the Chiles Center on Saturday, Nov. 6 at 12 p.m. PDT.


Natalie Orr | Posted: 2 Nov 2021 | Updated: 22 Nov 2021
Natalie Orr

No. 6 BYU prepares to face Gonzaga and Portland on the road

No. 6 BYU

PROVO, Utah — No. 6 BYU hits the road to face West Coast Conference opponents, Gonzaga and Portland, on Nov. 4 and 6, respectively. 

On Thursday at 6 p.m. PDT,  the Cougars will face the Bulldogs for the second time this season. Most recently, BYU swept Gonzaga on Oct. 9 in the Smith Fieldhouse. Overall, the Cougars hold a 24-1 all-time record against the team.

On Saturday at 12 p.m. PDT, the Cougars will face the Pilots. On Oct. 7, the teams last faced each other in the Smith Fieldhouse. There, BYU swept Portland and increased its all-time record to 20-1.

No. 6 Brigham Young University Cougars (21-1, 11-0 West Coast Conference)

  • The Cougars are on a 14-match winning streak
  • The last time BYU was ranked No. 6 or higher was back in 2018
  • This is head coach Heather Olmstead’s sixth season with 20+ wins 
  • Junior middle blocker Heather Gneiting ranks No. 4 in the NCAA for hitting percentage, holding a .464 clip
  • As a team, BYU ranks No. 1 in the NCAA in hitting percentage (.345), No. 1 in opponent hitting percentage (.112), No. 4 in match winning percentage (.955), No. 5 in kills per set (14.46), No. 7 in assists per set (13.17) and No. 17 in aces per set (1.89). BYU leads the WCC in all these categories.

Gonzaga University Bulldogs (7-16, 3-9 West Coast Conference)

  • Last week, the Bulldogs traveled to face WCC opponents, Pacific and Saint Mary’s. Gonzaga suffered 3-0 losses against both teams. 
  • Gonzaga ranks No. 36 in the NCAA in aces per set (1.73)
  • Mckenna Marshall leads the team offensively, racking up 221 kills thus far. Kennedy Croft follows with 188 kills.
  • The team averages 10.74 kills per set, 1.63 blocks per set and holds an average hitting percentage of .185

University of Portland Pilots (5-16, 2-10 West Coast Conference)

  • Most recently, the Pilots posted two losses on the road against Pacific (3-0) and Saint Mary’s (3-1)
  • Setter Paloma Bowman ranks No. 6 in the NCAA in triple doubles
  • Offensively, Jayde Harris leads the team with 224 kills and 28 service aces
  • Noelani Helm leads with 362 assists and 122 digs
  • The team averages 11.1 kills per set, 1.5 blocks per set and holds an average hitting percentage of .160

Broadcast Information – Nov. 4

Broadcast Information – Nov. 6


Purchase tickets online for Gonzaga here and for Portland here. Both venues require proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test for guests over the age of 11.