Brigham Young University
Sep 24 | 01:00 PM
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Pepperdine University
Smith Fieldhouse

Smith Fieldhouse Provo UT 84606

Trevor Rich | Posted: 24 Sep 2022 | Updated: 5 Oct 2022
Trevor Rich

No. 16 BYU defeats No. 17 Pepperdine in Olmstead's historic 200th-career win

Head coach Heather Olmstead points to the crowd after earning 200th-career win, the fastest in NCAA DI women's volleyball history to do so, at 25 games
Heather Olmstead becomes fastest coach in women's volleyball history to reach 200 wins with 3-1 win over Pepperdine on Saturday. Alyssa Montoya gets a pancake dig during a 3-1 win over the Pepperdine Waves at the Smith Fieldhouse on Saturday. Alyssa Montoya and Heather Gneiting celebrate after a kill during a 3-1 win over the Pepperdine Waves at the Smith Fieldhouse on Saturday. Heather Gneiting takes a swing during a 3-1 win over the Pepperdine Waves at the Smith Fieldhouse on Saturday. Erin Livingston serves during a 3-1 win over the Pepperdine Waves at the Smith Fieldhouse on Saturday. Whitney Bower and Whitney Llarenas celebrate after a kill during a 3-1 win over the Pepperdine Waves at the Smith Fieldhouse on Saturday. The team celebrates after a kill Whitney Bower and Whitney Llarenas celebrate after a kill during a 3-1 win over the Pepperdine Waves at the Smith Fieldhouse on Saturday.

PROVO, Utah — Middle blocker Whitney Llarenas’s career-high 13 kills helped No. 16 BYU outlast No. 17 Pepperdine (25-12, 18-25, 25-21, 25-22) to win its fourth-straight match and earn head coach Heather Olmstead's 200th-career win. 


"It feels great to have Cougar nation here supporting us," said Olmstead. "It was a hard-fought win and match for us. I was really proud of the group."

Achieving the 200-career win milestone in just 225 games, Olmstead is the fastest in NCAA Division I women’s volleyball history to hit the 200-win mark, surpassing the University of Hawaii's Dave Shoji, who reached 200 wins in 236 games back in 1987.

Fastest NCAA DI Women's Volleyball Coaches to Reach 200-Career Wins
1 Heather Olmstead, BYU 225 games 2022
2 Dave Shoji, Hawai'i 236 games 1987
3 Terry Pettit, Nebraska 238 games 1988
T-4 Don Shaw, Stanford 244 games 1991
T-4 Russ Rose, Penn State 244 games 1987

BYU hit .219 in the match, downing 54 kills while holding Pepperdine to a .126 clip. Three Cougars finished with double-digit kills: Llarenas' career-high 13, Erin Livingston (13) and Heather Gneiting (12). Gneiting also sent back six blocks. Setter Whitney Bower posted a double-double, recording 41 assists and 13 digs.

Set One
The Cougars jumped out to an early 5-1 lead, paced by Gneiting's two quick kills. BYU continued to extend its lead, going ahead 11-6. A BYU overpass led to a big swing by the Waves that was stuffed by senior setter Whitney Bower, sending a shot of energy throughout the Smith Fieldhouse and giving the Cougars a 14-8 lead.

BYU won five-straight points to take a 20-9 lead after Whitney Bower caused Pepperdine to be out of system on consecutive plays. The Cougars were able to win the set 25-12, with their hitting percentage of .409 to the Waves' -0.067 a big difference. 

Set Two
The second set began back-and-forth as the two teams were tied early at six apiece. Pepperdine was able to break the tie, taking an 8-6 advantage. The Waves continued to apply the pressure as they extended their lead to seven, leading 17-10.

BYU called a timeout to stop the 5-0 scoring run by Pepperdine, but the Waves continued to control the set, leading 20-13. Pepperdine was able to win the set 25-18 and tie the match at one set apiece. Waves outside hitter Rachel Arenas led the way for Pepperdine with five kills in set two.

Set Three
The Cougars got off to a fast start in set three, leading 3-0. BYU was able to continue holding the lead at 8-5. The Waves were able to hang around and tie the set at 12-12, eventually going ahead 15-14, but the Cougars responded and took the lead back from Pepperdine, at 19-18.

Backed by kills from Erin Livingston, Llarenas, Elyse Stowell and Kate Grimmer, BYU was able to hang onto the lead and win the set, 25-21 to take a 2-1 match lead. Llarenas led BYU with five kills in the set.

Set Four
A service ace from Livingston gave the Cougars a 4-3 advantage early in set four. BYU continued to apply pressure as its lead was extended to 8-5. The Waves stayed afloat as they were able to tie the set at nine, but a Livingston kill gave the crowd life as the Cougars led by one, 11-10.

Pepperdine's Grace Chillingworth served an ace that tied the set at 13-13, but a Stowell kill gave the Cougars a 15-14 lead at the media timeout. Three-straight points by BYU put the Cougars up 18-15 and forced the Waves to call a timeout.

Another Livingston kill gave BYU a 21-17 lead, forcing Pepperdine to call its final timeout. A service ace by Gneiting gave the Cougars their first match point of the night with a 24-18 lead. Four-straight points by the Waves gave Pepperdine life, as BYU led 24-22, but a Livingston kill gave the Cougars the win, 25-22.

Going 2-0 to start WCC play, the Cougars will head to Portland next week for their first road trip of conference play, visiting the Pilots on Thursday, Sept. 29.


Cameron Muh | Posted: 23 Sep 2022 | Updated: 3 Oct 2022
Cameron Muh

BYU and Pepperdine to play in top-20 Saturday matinee

Eden Bower, Heather Gneiting and Whitney Bower between points against UVU on September 17, 2022

PROVO, Utah — Winners of three-straight, No. 16 BYU women’s volleyball welcomes No. 17 Pepperdine to the Smith Fieldhouse as West Coast Conference (WCC) play continues on Saturday afternoon.

Backed by 12 kills from Erin Livingston, 28 assists by Whitney Bower and three blocks each from Heather Gneiting and Eden Bower, the Cougars swept Loyola Marymount on Thursday night (25-23, 25-18, 25-21) to open their final season in the WCC with a win.

Ranked in the top-17 for 131-straight polls, BYU is one of three WCC teams in the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) poll. Saturday's opponent, the 17th-ranked Waves, dropped a four-setter at No. 4 San Diego to open their conference slate on Thursday night.

Heading into Saturday night's top-20 matchup, the Cougars have won 28-consecutive WCC matches. Dating back to a five-set loss to San Diego in 2019, BYU has also won 22-straight conference matches in Provo. 

No. 16 BYU vs. No. 17 Pepperdine

The Cougars improved to 7-1 at home this season after their victory over the Lions. Head coach Heather Olmstead is 107-6 in the Smith Fieldhouse during her time at BYU. She's also posted a record of 112-9 in the WCC, going 13-1 against Pepperdine with a perfect 6-0 record against the Waves in Provo.

Livingston paces the Cougars with 150 kills on the season. Her 4.05 kills per set average currently has her No. 39 in the nation. Surpassing the 3,000-career assists mark earlier in the season, Whitney Bower has tallied 368 assists on the year, averaging just under 10 per set a 9.95. 

Gneiting and Whitney Llarenas have played strong in the middle. Gneiting is second on the team with 93 kills, while leading the team in blocks (40), and aces (16). Llarenas' 83 kills are third-highest on the team, and her 38 blocks put her just behind Gneiting's 40. 

No. 17 Pepperdine (9-3, 0-1 WCC)

  • The Waves took down No. 6 Minnesota (3-1) in Minneapolis last week, also beating Washington State, a common opponent with BYU, in four sets, before falling at No. 4 San Diego (3-1) to open WCC play on Thursday night
  • With the win over the Gophers, Pepperdine has three top-25 wins. The Waves have also beat No. 9 Baylor and No. 13 Washington after suffering a 3-0 loss at the hands of No. 1 Nebraska earlier in the season.
  • Meg Brown (131), Emily Hellmuth (129) and Grace Chillingworth (126) lead the Waves in kills. Rachel Ahrens has 107 kills on the year, giving the Waves' four hitters with 100+ kills.
  • With 468 assists, setter Isabel Zelaya leads the conference. Riley Patterson's 194 digs and Vanessa Polk's 61 blocks are also a conference highs. 
  • Eight seasons in as head coach at Pepperdine, Scott Wong has a 134-79 (.629) record with the Waves
  • BYU leads the all-time series with Pepperdine, 31-10. The Cougars won both matchups last season, beating a ranked Waves' team in Malibu, 3-1, and sweeping them in Provo.

Leaving the state of Utah for just the second time this season, the Cougars will head to the Pacific Northwest next week for conference matches at Portland and Gonzaga.