Mike Miller | Posted: 1 Sep 2022 | Updated: 13 Sep 2022

No. 7 BYU sweeps Utah State to begin Nike Invitational

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Erin Livingston hyped after kill against Utah State, 9.1.22
2022 BYU women's volleyball wearing "Love One Another" shirts pre-game

PROVO, Utah — No. 7 BYU women's volleyball improved to 4-0 on the season with a 3-0 (25-9, 25-17, 25-14) sweep of Utah State on Thursday night in game one of the BYU Nike Invitational.


The Cougars are now 52-15 all-time against the Aggies. The BYU defense held Utah State to a -0.037 hitting percentage, with senior middle blocker Heather Gneiting contributing to seven of BYU’s 11 blocks.

Junior outside hitter Erin Livingston led the Cougar attack with 12 kills. She was joined by graduate senior middle blocker Whitney Llarenas (nine kills) and Gneiting (six kills) to help BYU to a .365 hitting clip, including .579 in set one. Senior opposite hitter Kate Grimmer had seven digs, with senior setter Whitney Bower registering 27 assists.

Set One
Aria McComber’s service helped BYU start the set on a 7-0 run. The senior libero had an ace while forcing four errors and two free balls that were killed off by Livingston.

A Utah State timeout at 6-0 helped slow down the Cougars, with the teams trading points until the BYU lead stood at 11-5. Strong service then helped BYU go on another run, this time with Grimmer behind the line. She had two aces to help BYU go on a 5-0 run, good for a 16-5 lead.

The Aggies gave up another run just three points later, with four Cougar kills—including two of Livingston’s set-high five—and a Llarenas and Livingston block leading to a 6-0 stretch. It was Livingston again who put the set away at 25-9 with a kill a few points later.

Set Two
Defense helped the Cougars start off the second set with another lead. Consecutive blocks, one by Gneiting and Grimmer, the other by Gneiting and Eden Bower, saw BYU up 8-3 early. From there, Livingston continued to lead the attack, registering three straight kills and adding a fourth after a Utah State point.

The 17-8 lead proved insurmountable, despite Utah State going on a 4-1 run to only trail by six for most of the rest of the set. Two Aggie errors ultimately saw the set end at 25-17 for BYU.

Livingston had five more kills in the set, while Gneiting added four. Five different Cougars also lead the team’s defensive effort by registering blocks.

Set Three
The teams traded points to 4-4, with Utah State’s leads during that stretch the only time the Cougars trailed in the match. BYU then went on another 6-0 run, with Gneiting and Eden Bower both registering a block and kill apiece during the stretch.

With the score at 14-8 later in the set, BYU ran up to a 21-11 advantage behind five kills from four different players and a Gneiting ace. Llarenas had two of her nine kills on the night during the run, which ended with her adding a block as well.

Defense continued to lead BYU through the rest of set three, which included five blocks from Gneiting. The set’s seventh block came from Eden Bower, which sealed a 25-14 set and match victory. The Aggies were held to -0.217 hitting in set three.

The Cougars return to the Smith Fieldhouse tomorrow, Sept. 2, at 7:00 p.m. MDT against Cincinnati. The match will be broadcast on BYUtv and the BYUtv app, with fans needing tickets to attend in-person.

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