Cameron Muh | Posted: 3 Nov 2022 | Updated: 17 Nov 2022

No. 18 Cougars down Dons in four sets

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Erin Livingston swings against Washington State during the dōTERRA Classic

SAN FRANCISCO — After dropping the opening set, No. 18 BYU women’s volleyball pulled away to beat San Francisco, 3-1 (20-25, 25-20, 25-19, 25-16) at War Memorial Gym on Thursday night. 


Three Cougar hitters finished with double-digit kills, including outside hitter Erin Livingston, who recorded a game-high 21 on the night, one shy of tying her career-high. Middle blocker Heather Gneiting added 11 kills, and fellow middle blocker, freshman Kate Prior contributed a career-high 10 kills on a .368 clip. 

As a team, BYU hit .273 while holding the Dons to a .133 hitting percentage. Setter Abby Taylor notched a double-double, dishing out 41 assists and 13 of the Cougars’ 43 digs. Opposite hitter Kate Grimmer carded 10 digs of her own. Gneiting finished with six total blocks, while Prior had three.  

Set 1
Whitney Llarenas began the match with a slide kill before kills by Erin Livingston, Kate Prior and Elyse Stowell gave the Cougars a 4-3 lead, but USF runs of five-, four- and five-straight points helped the Dons open up a six-point lead on multiple occasions. 

Four Kate Prior kills and a pair of aces each by Alyssa Montoya and Aria McComber kept BYU in it, but San Francisco pulled away for a 25-20 first set win.

Set 2
Livingston paced the Cougars early with five kills and a solo block, giving BYU an 8-4 lead and forcing a USF timeout. BYU scored three-straight coming out of the timeout, capping off a 7-0 run. 

The Dons went on a 7-1 run to draw within one, at 13-12, but the Cougars answered with a 5-0 run, aided by another pair of McComber aces, to lead 19-13. 

San Francisco reeled off three-straight, but two kills by Livingston and a quick hitter in the middle by Llarenas paced BYU down the stretch to a 25-20 set win, evening the match at 1-1. 

Set 3
Again fueled by Livingston offensively, the Cougars opened up a 4-0 lead. Two Elyse Stowell kills, a quick hitter in the middle by Heather Gneiting and another Montoya ace put BYU in front, 11-7. Leading 14-8, a 4-0 USF run made it 14-12, and the Cougars took a timeout. 

Two Gneiting kills and one each from Livingston and Llarenas put BYU up 20-16. Gneiting and Prior teamed up twice for a double block as the Cougars closed the set on a 5-1 run, winning 25-19, to take a 2-1 match lead.

Set 4
Gneiting began the fourth with a kill up the middle. A kill and solo block by Livingston, along with a pair of San Francisco errors, had BYU ahead 6-2. The Dons scored four-straight to take an 8-7 lead, forcing a Cougar timeout. 

Answering with a 5-0 run that included back-to-back Stowell kills, BYU had a 12-8 advantage, and USF took a timeout. The two teams traded points until 15-11, when the Dons took four of the next five to draw within one at 16-15. 

Livingston and Stowell both recorded kills as the Cougars began to pull away, finishing the set on a 9-1 run. Gneiting downed a kill in the middle before teaming up with Prior to send a double block back. Closing out her career night, Prior sent a kill cross-court to seal the 25-16 third set and match win. 

The Cougars will travel the hour south along the Bay to take on Santa Clara on Saturday, Nov. 5 at 1 p.m. PDT. The match will be streamed on the WCC Network

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