Cougar volleyball visits the Northwest for two matches

(Photo by Jaren Wilkey/BYU Photo)

PROVO, Utah—Now 19-2 on the season, the No. 18 BYU women’s volleyball team heads to the Northwest for matchups against Gonzaga Thursday and Portland Saturday.

BYU (7-2 West Coast Conference) faces the Bulldogs (9-13, 1-8 WCC) at 6 p.m. PDT on Thursday before traveling south to face the Pilots (6-17, 0-9 WCC) at 3 p.m. PDT, Saturday.

Three Cougars rank in the top 25 for NCAA stats with Nicole Warner coming in at No. 3 for blocks per set (1.68). Heather Hannemann is No. 20 in assists per set with 11.36 and Jennifer Hamson jumped to No. 21 for points per set with 4.91.

BYU stayed at the top of the pack for hitting percentage at .319 and came in at No. 13 for blocks per set (2.95). Last week’s loss to Santa Clara dropped BYU from first place in win-loss record to No. 4, behind only Penn State (20-1), Oregon (18-1) and Central Arkansas (22-2).

Hamson leads the BYU offense with 4.01 kills per set, helped out by Alexa Gray's 3.49 kills per set. Libero Tia Withers leads the back row with 2.69 digs per set.

Four WCC teams were ranked in this week's AVCA Coaches Poll with San Diego coming in at No. 14, Pepperdine at No. 23 and Saint Mary's at No. 25. The last time the conference had four teams ranked was in 2008 when San Diego was ranked No. 14, Santa Clara No. 22, Pepperdine No. 23 and San Francisco No. 25.

The Cougars are No. 15 in the RPI rankings, the highest in the conference.

Gonzaga

The Cougars took down the Bulldogs in three sets in the teams’ first meeting this season. BYU leads the series 6-1-0.

Gonzaga comes off a loss to No. 24 Pepperdine last week.

Savannah Blinn leads Gonzaga on offense with 3.39 kills per set. Lauren Joseph dishes out 4.80 assists per set, while Kristina Lavrisha averages 3.86 digs. Meredith Crenshaw leads in blocking with 0.93 per set.

Portland

BYU has already met success against the Pilots this season, defeating them 3-0 at the beginning of October. BYU now leads the all-time series 3-0-0.

The Pilots will face San Francisco on the Dons’ home court Thursday before taking on BYU.

Ariel Usher leads the Pilots with 2.91 kills per set, helped out by Monica Jordan’s 5.48 assists average. On defense are Jacky Rodriguez with 3.10 digs per set and Rachel Femling with 0.87 blocks per set.

How to watch

Follow the Gonzaga match with live video streaming and live stats available on the Gonzaga schedule page.  

Find live video streaming and live stats for the Portland match on Portland’s Game Central page. 

Live updates will also be available on the BYU women’s volleyball Facebook and Twitter pages.