Ballard-Nixon’s 23 kills leads No. 15 BYU past San Francisco
SAN FRANCISCO – Senior outside hitter Taylen Ballard-Nixon totaled a career-high 23 kills to help No. 15 BYU defeat San Francisco in four sets (25-15, 20-25, 26-24, 25-18) on Saturday in War Memorial Gym.
Ballard-Nixon recorded the 23 kills on a .316 clip and ended the match with 11 digs to post her third double-double of the year. Freshman outside hitter Erin Livingston finished the afternoon with new career highs of 18 kills and six blocks.
Senior middle blocker Kennedy Eschenberg was the third Cougar to record double-digit kills, totaling 10 on an efficient .474 clip. Sophomore setter Whitney Bower posted her third consecutive double-double with a career-high 52 assists and a team-high 16 digs.
BYU (10-1, 9-1 WCC) finished with a.338 hitting percentage and outblocked San Francisco (5-7, 5-7 WCC) 10-5 on the day.
Ballard-Nixon had a pair of kills and a solo block as the Cougars jumped out to an early 8-2 advantage to start the first game. Three consecutive kills by Livingston increased the lead to 16-8. Ballard-Nixon and Livingston tacked on two more kills each as BYU took the set 25-15.
After trailing 4-1 to begin the second game, freshman middle blocker Leilani Dodson fueled a 7-3 Cougar run with a kill and solo block to give BYU an 8-7 edge. The Dons immediately reclaimed the lead and remained in control for the remainder of the second set, winning the game 25-20.
Neither team could find much separation in the third game as the two teams battled to a 12-12 tie. Four different Cougars connected on kills to help BYU take a two-point edge, 21-19. A kill by Eschenberg broke a tie at 24 and a Ballard-Nixon kill ended the set, 26-24.
Ballard-Nixon and Dodson had three kills apiece to put the Cougars up 10-8 to start the fourth set. Ballard-Nixon connected on three more kills to increase BYU’s advantage to 18-15. Livingston added three more kills late in the game, scoring the final point of the set to secure the win for BYU, 25-18.
The Cougars will return home to host a pair of matches against Pacific in the Smith Fieldhouse. The two matches are scheduled for March 12-13 and both have 1 p.m. MST start times. Broadcast information for both matches can be found on the BYU women’s volleyball schedule page.
BYU women’s volleyball season tickets for the upcoming 2023 campaign will go on sale beginning Wednesday, July 26.