Grimmer Leads No. 12 BYU in Sweep Over Gonzaga
PROVO, Utah – Sophomore opposite Kate Grimmer and No. 12 BYU women’s volleyball proved to be too much for Gonzaga, defeating the Bulldogs in straight sets (25-19, 25-22, 25-22) at the Smith Fieldhouse on Wednesday.
"We knew we were going to have to bring the energy," said BYU head coach Heather Olmstead. "I thought we weathered the storm. I thought Gonzaga played great, they made great defensive plays and they made it really hard for us to get kills. Give credit to them and credit to our team for sticking with it. They really fought and battled, and I'm really proud of our team."
Grimmer finished the day with 13 kills on a .385 clip while adding six digs and a pair of blocks. Senior outside hitter Taylen Ballard-Nixon also reached double-digit kills with 12 while adding three blocks and two aces to her stat line. Freshman outside hitter Leilani Dodson finished the day with five kills to go with a match-high five blocks and freshman outside hitter Erin Livingston contributed six kills.
"Kate Grimmer's strengths are the energy she brings to the team, her enthusiasm and her arm," Olmstead said. "We saw that in her when we were recruiting her. She makes other people want to play better. She brings the energy. She was transitioning hard every point. She was available for Whitney Bower to set her and Whitney was finding her."
BYU (5-0, 4-0 WCC) outblocked Gonzaga 7-5 and totaled 52 digs to hold Gonzaga (1-3, 1-3 WCC) to a .178 hitting percentage. Freshman libero Madi Allen led both teams in digs with 16 and collected three assists. Sophomore setter Whitney Bower ended with nine digs and a match-high 34 assists.
The two teams traded points to start the match until a kill by Ballard-Nixon gave the Cougars a three-point lead, 13-10. A kill by Grimmer and a Gonzaga service error extended the Cougars' lead to four at the media timeout, 15-11. Ballard-Nixon followed up her fourth kill of the first game with an ace to put BYU up 18-13. A Bulldog ace capped a 4-0 run bring the score within two, 20-18. A successful challenge by coach Olmstead shifted momentum back the Cougars' way, fueling a 3-0 run. BYU went on to win the set 25-19, finishing the first game with 21 digs, 10 of which coming from Allen.
Gonzaga jumped out to an early 3-1 advantage before the Cougars answered with a pair of kills and a block to claim a 4-3 edge. Neither team could find much separation as a kill by Ballard-Nixon put BYU up one, 16-15. The Cougars' fourth block of the day resulted in a two-point BYU lead, 22-20, forcing a Gonzaga timeout. Grimmer clinched the second game, 25-22, with her third kill of the set.
Junior setter Tayler Hifo dropped BYU’s third ace of the match to give the Cougars 2-0 edge in the third game. Kills by Dodson, Bower and Livingston helped extend the Cougars’ lead to 9-5. A 6-3 run brought the Bulldogs within a single point, 12-11. With the assistance of a service error, BYU went into a media timeout up 15-12. Gonzaga fought back to bring the score within one point, 18-17. Both teams kept the score within a single point as a kill by Grimmer led to a 21-20 BYU lead. A pair of costly Bulldog errors and a kill by Ballard-Nixon secured the sweep for the Cougars, 25-22.
BYU will remain at home and will host Loyola Marymount on back-to-back days, Feb. 16-17, at the Smith Fieldhouse. Both matches are currently scheduled for 7 p.m. MT and will be broadcast on BYUtv and the BYUtv App.
No. 12 BYU Hosts Gonzaga in Home Opener
PROVO, Utah – No. 12 BYU women’s volleyball will host Gonzaga for a two-match series Feb. 9-10, at the Smith Fieldhouse.
The first matchup of the series is set to start at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 9, while the second match is scheduled for 4 p.m. the following day, Wednesday, Feb. 10. Both matches will be broadcast on BYUtv and the BYUtv App.
No. 12 BYU Cougars (3-0, 2-0 WCC)
- BYU moved up to No. 12 in the AVCA poll, the second-straight week the Cougars have moved up two spots in the weekly poll
- The Cougars moved to 3-0 on the season after defeating Utah Valley 3-1, their only scheduled non-conference match of the season
- Averaging 14.00 assists per set, BYU ranks No. 5 in the NCAA Division I
- The Cougars rank 14th nationally in hitting percentage (.305), 15th in aces per set (2.30), and 21st in kills per set (14.30)
- Sophomore setter Whitney Bower is currently averaging 11.30 assists per set, ranking 18th in the nation
- Senior outside hitter Taylen Ballard-Nixon is No. 26 in points per set (5.10) and No. 35 in aces per set (0.70)
- BYU is 21-1 all-time against Gonzaga, including 10-1 at home
- Under head coach Heather Olmstead, the Cougars are 10-0 in the series
Gonzaga Bulldogs (1-1, 1-1 WCC)
- After having its first four matches canceled or postponed, Gonzaga split its series against Pacific last week to open its season
- The Bulldogs returned their top five point scorers from 2019, including three-time all-conference outside hitter Sarah Penner and fellow seniors Chapin Gray (outside hitter) and Katelyn Oppio (middle blocker), who all combined to generate 0ver 1,000 points
- Gonzaga leads the WCC in blocks per set with 3.22, ranking No. 6 nationally
- Middle blocker Alyssa Hughes is currently second in the conference with 1.22 blocks per set
- The Bulldogs rank 27th in the nation with an average of 17.89 digs per set
Broadcast Information – February 9
Broadcast Information – February 10