Brigham Young University
Sep 29 | 06:00 PM
3 - 0
University of Portland
Chiles Center

Portsmouth Ave Portland OR 97203

Cameron Muh | Posted: 29 Sep 2022 | Updated: 7 Oct 2022
Cameron Muh

Stowell's career night helps No. 15 Cougars sweep Pilots

Elyse Stowell, Kate Grimmer and Whitney Llarenas against UVU

PORTLAND, Ore.  — Led by Elyse Stowell's career-high 10 kills, No. 15 BYU women’s volleyball came from six points down in the third set en route to a sweep of Portland (25-12, 25-20, 26-24) at the Chiles Center on Thursday night.


The Cougars (10-3, 3-0 WCC) hit .326 on the night to the Pilots’ .126 and also benefited from 22 Portland attack errors. Outside hitters Erin Livingston and Stowell pitched in 10 kills each, making up 20 of BYU’s 42 kills. 

Middle blocker Heather Gneiting led the Cougars with seven total blocks. Setter Whitney Bower finished with four blocks of her own, and dished out 29 assists as well. Bower and Kate Grimmer each recorded seven digs.  

Set 1
Making her first start of the season, Stowell opened the match with a pair of kills. Two kills by Livingston, followed by a Gneiting solo block, and double block by Gneiting and  Bower highlighted a 5-0 BYU run that had the Cougars ahead 7-1, forcing a Portland timeout.

Two Whitney Llarenas kills and a kill by Grimmer spanned a 3-0 BYU run that made it 12-3. A Stowell kill, dump kill by Bower and Pilot attack error had the Cougars on another run of three-straight, putting them up 17-6 and forcing Portland’s second timeout.

Gneiting and Bower teamed up for another double block, and two more Bower dump kills made it 22-9. Kills by Kate Prior and Gneiting, assisted on by Abby Taylor, closed out the first set for the Cougars, 25-12. BYU recorded 18 kills and hit .607 in the set.

Set 2
After the Pilots took the opening point of the set, the Cougars went on a 4-0 run, but Portland rallied to tie the set a 6-6. Both teams traded points as the set saw ties at 8, 9 and 11-all before BYU took a 15-12 lead into the media timeout.

Kills from Stowell and Livingston helped BYU maintain its three-point advantage before a 3-0 Cougar run, ignited by two more Livingston kills, put BYU in front by five, at 20-15, and causing a Portland timeout. 

Three-consecutive Pilot points drew Portland within three, at 22-19. Gneiting and Kate Grimmer teamed up for a double block, bringing up set point for the Cougars and forcing Portland’s second timeout. A Pilot attack error out of the timeout gave the set to BYU, 25-22.

Set 3
The third set began in similar fashion to the second, with two ties in the early going. A 4-0 Portland run then gave the Pilots an 8-5 lead, forcing a Cougar timeout. Three Stowell kills kept it close for BYU, cutting the Portland lead to 11-8. 

Making it 14-11 after Bower won a joust at the net, Whitney Llarenas landed a slide kill and a Pilot attack error, Portland took two-straight points to go ahead by five, 16-11, forcing the Cougars’ second timeout.

Kills by Grimmer and Stowell, and an Aria McComber ace had BYU on a 3-0 run, drawing within three at 18-15, and causing a Pilot timeout. Coming out of the timeout, a Portland error, Gneiting and Grimmer double block made it 18-17. 

Battling in the latter half of the set, the two teams traded points, with the Cougars clawing back to tie the set at 23-23 after back-to-back Pilot attack errors. Grimmer landed a kill off the block to bring up match point for BYU, forcing Portland’s second timeout. 

The Pilots staved off one match point before a Livingston kill gave the Cougars a second one, finishing off the third set and the match on a Portland attack error, 26-24. 

Continuing their Pacific Northwest road trip, the Cougars will visit Gonzaga in Spokane on Saturday, Oct. 1 at 12 p.m. PDT. The match will be streamed on the WCC Network.


Cameron Muh | Posted: 28 Sep 2022 | Updated: 6 Oct 2022
Cameron Muh

No. 15 BYU visits Portland on first WCC road trip

Whitney Bower, Erin Livingston, Kate Grimmer and Heather Gneiting in between points against Pepperdine

PROVO, Utah — Extending its win streak to four games after two wins to open West Coast Conference (WCC) play, No. 15 BYU women’s volleyball hits the road for the second time this season, heading west to play at Portland on Thursday.

The Cougars improved to 9-3 overall after sweeping Loyola Marymount and beating No. 17 Pepperdine in four sets last week. The victory over the Waves was BYU head coach Heather Olmstead’s 200th-career win. She is the fastest in NCAA DI women’s volleyball history to reach 200 wins, doing so in just 225 games. 

Moving up a spot in this week’s American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) poll following the pair of wins, BYU has been ranked in the top-17 for 132-straight polls. 

No. 15 BYU @ Portland

BYU is 113-9 in WCC play under Olmstead, with a 13-1 record against Portland during her tenure, including going 7-1 at the Chiles Center. The Cougars’ only loss to the Pilots was a five-setter in 2016. 

Putting down a team-high 163 kills this season, junior outside hitter Erin Livingston averages 3.98 kills per set, putting her at No. 48 in the country. Senior middle blocker Heather Gneiting is second on the team with 105 kills, also sending back 46 total blocks. 

Senior setter Whitney Bower has recorded 409 assists for an average of 9.98 per set. She also has 44 kills and 13 blocks on the year. Bower and senior opposite hitter Kate Grimmer lead the team in digs with 110 and 101, respectively. 

Graduate middle blocker Whitney Llarenas, who set a career-high with 13 kills in the Pepperdine match, is 47th in the nation and first in the WCC with a .378 hitting percentage. Llarenas has 38 total blocks on the year as well.

Portland (8-6, 1-2 WCC)

  • The Pilots played at Loyola Marymount on Tuesday night and were swept by the Lions (25-11, 25-19, 25-22)
  • Portland went 1-1 to open WCC play last week, dropping a five-setter to Saint Mary’s and beating Pacific in five sets
  • A common opponent between the Cougars and Pilots is Utah State. BYU swept the Aggies during the second week of the season and Portland was swept by Utah State the week after. 
  • Jayde Harris (184), Maui Robins (127), Noelani Helm (101) make up three Pilot hitters with 100+ kills. Helm and Mareena Catalan have teamed up to lead the team in assists, dishing out 295 and 202, respectively.
  • Grace Zilbert (192) and Helm (149) have both recorded triple-digit digs on the year, while Emma Swett (45) and Una Rajkovic (41) pace Portland in blocks.
  • Four Pilots have double-digit service aces this season: Harris (19), Catalan (18), Zilbert (18) and Helm (12). Portland leads the conference in aces per set, at 1.90, a mark good for No. 33 in the country. 
  • Megan Burton is in her third season as head coach with the Pilots, posting a 15-40 record in that time
  • BYU leads the all-time series with Portland, 21-1. The Cougars swept both matchups last season.

The Cougars will continue their Pacific Northwest road trip after the matchup with Portland, traveling to Spokane to take on Gonzaga on Saturday, Oct. 1 at 12 p.m. PDT.

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