Brigham Young University
Mar 26 | 04:00 PM
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Saint Mary's College of California
University Credit Union Pavilion

1928 Saint Marys Road Moraga CA 94575

Braden Taylor | Posted: 26 Mar 2021 | Updated: 6 Apr 2021
Braden Taylor

No. 15 BYU overpowers Saint Mary’s in straight sets

Ballard-Nixon, Taylen vs San Diego 3-20-21

MORAGA, Calif. – No. 15 BYU women’s volleyball swept Saint Mary’s (25-17, 25-15, 26-24) on Friday at the University Credit Union Pavilion in Moraga, California, remaining in the hunt for this year’s West Coast Conference title.

The win over the Gaels boosted the Cougars to a .923 WCC win percentage as they trail just behind No. 20 Pepperdine (.933 WCC win pct.) in the league’s title race with three matches remaining in the regular season for both teams.

Senior outside hitter Taylen Ballard-Nixon led the Cougars with a double-double of 13 kills on a .379 clip and a career-high 14 digs. Sophomore setter Whitney Bower contributed a double-double of her own with 34 assists and 10 digs while adding three blocks, two kills and an ace to her stat line.

Middle blocker Kennedy Eschenberg continued her efficient offensive play while leading the team defensively. The senior totaled 11 kills on an errorless .611 hitting percentage and led the team with eight blocks for the second match in a row. Freshman outside hitter Erin Livingston also reached double-digit kills with 10.

Freshman libero Madi Allen led the team in digs with 17 while freshman outside hitter Abbey Dayton also reached double-digits with 10 digs.

Offensively, BYU (13-1, 12-1 WCC) had its way with Saint Mary’s (7-9, 7-9 WCC), finishing with 45 kills and a .304 team hitting percentage. The Cougars also proved dominant defensively, holding the Gaels to a .057 hitting percentage while outblocking them 13-4.

Final Box Score

Eschenberg tallied two quick kills and a block to help BYU open the first game with an 8-4 advantage. Eschenberg then added two more kills and a pair of blocks as the Cougars’ increased their lead to 19-11. Ballard-Nixon connected on three kills late in the set to secure the 25-17 win for BYU. The Cougars had six blocks in the first game while holding the Gaels to a .026 hitting percentage.

Eschenberg and Livingston combined to score all six of BYU’s first points to give the Cougars an early 6-1 lead in the second set. Sophomore opposite Kate Grimmer contributed on a pair of blocks to increase the advantage to 13-5. Livingston then added three more kills to make the score 19-9. Four different Cougars connected on kills to close out the set, 25-15. BYU once again held the Saint Mary’s attack in check as the Gaels only hit .023 in the set.

In a much tighter third game, the two teams exchanged blows with neither team able to pull away from the other. Eschenberg had three kills to fuel a 6-2 run that gave the Cougars a 15-14 edge midway through the set. Two kills by Grimmer helped extend the lead to 18-15. After Saint Mary’s fought back to take a 24-23 lead late, BYU scored three-straight points with a kill by Eschenberg, an ace by Bower and a block by Eschenberg and Grimmer to take the set, 26-24.

BYU and Saint Mary’s will play the backend of the two-match series Saturday, March 27 at the University Credit Union Pavilion. The match is set to start at 3 p.m. PDT and will be broadcast on the WCC Network.

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Braden Taylor | Posted: 24 Mar 2021 | Updated: 27 Mar 2021
Braden Taylor

No. 15 BYU takes on Saint Mary’s in final road trip of regular season

WVB vs Saint Mary's Preview Graphic

PROVO, Utah – No. 15 BYU women’s volleyball will play Saint Mary’s in its final road trip of the 2020-21 regular season March 26-27 at the University Credit Union Pavilion in Moraga, California.

Friday’s match is scheduled to start at 4 p.m. PDT while Saturday’s match is set to begin at 3 p.m. PDT. Both matches will be broadcast on the WCC Network.

BYU Match Notes

No. 15 BYU Cougars (12-1, 11-1 WCC)

  • BYU moved back up one spot to No. 15 in the AVCA national poll after sweeping its season series against No. 21 San Diego last week
  • The Cougars are currently No. 2 in the WCC standings (.917 WCC win pct.) behind Pepperdine (.929 WCC win pct.) while leading the league with a .923 overall win percentage
  • On Monday, sophomore setter Whitney Bower received WCC Offensive Player of the Week honors and senior middle blocker Kennedy Eschenberg collected WCC Defensive Player of the Week to complete the BYU sweep of the weekly awards
  • BYU is No. 4 in the nation with 13.67 assists per set, led by Bower who is No. 26 in the NCAA DI with an average of 10.84 assists per set
  • The Cougars also rank No. 10 in kills per set (14.44) and No. 12 in hitting percentage (.301)
  • Eschenberg leads the league with a .427 hitting percentage (No. 18 in the nation) and with 1.26 blocks per set (No. 45 in the nation)
  • Senior outside hitter Taylen Ballard-Nixon leads BYU with 3.87 kills per set and 4.43 points per set
  • Originally scheduled to be the final series of the season, BYU will have a quick turnaround after the Saint Mary’s series to host a pair of rescheduled matches against Santa Clara March 30-31

Series Information

  • BYU leads the series with a 17-6 record against Saint Mary’s, including a current win streak of 12 matches
  • Under Heather Olmstead, the Cougars are 10-0 against the Gaels, including 5-0 at the University Credit Union Pavilion

Saint Mary’s Gaels (7-8, 7-8 WCC)

  • After opening the season 1-6, Saint Mary’s has won six of its last eight matches
  • The Gaels are currently No. 4 in the league standings with a .786 win percentage, one of four WCC teams (BYU, Pepperdine, San Diego) to have a win percentage above .500
  • The two matches are likely the final two matches of the regular season for Saint Mary’s
  • Sophomore outside hitter Elena Baka currently averages .39 aces per set to rank third in the conference while leading the Gaels in kills (2.95) and points per set (3.54)
  • Senior middle blocker Jennifer Laird leads the Saint Mary’s block with .96 blocks per set

Broadcast Information – March 26

Broadcast Information – March 27