Brigham Young University
Mar 27 | 03:00 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: 27 Mar 2021 | Updated: 6 Apr 2021
Braden Taylor

No. 15 BYU takes over top spot in WCC standings after sweep of Saint Mary’s

BYU huddle vs LMU 2-17-21.jpg

MORAGA, Calif. – No. 15 BYU women’s volleyball improved to 13-1 in West Coast Conference play following its sweep of Saint Mary’s (25-19, 25-23, 25-21) at the University Credit Union Pavilion on Saturday, claiming the top spot in the league standings with a .929 WCC win percentage.

The win gave the Cougars control of the conference title race after Pepperdine dropped its second match of league play to San Diego earlier on Saturday. The Waves’ WCC win percentage dropped from .933 to .875 with the loss, putting them in second place in the standings. Both teams play Santa Clara twice next week in the final week of the regular season. The Cougars can clinch the WCC title by winning both of their matches against the Broncos.

Senior outside hitter Taylen Ballard-Nixon led the team with 15 kills on a .333 clip while adding seven digs and two blocks to her stat line. Freshman outside hitter Erin Livingston totaled 11 kills and had three blocks in the match. Sophomore setter Whitney Bower recorded her second consecutive double-double, and her sixth in seven matches, with 38 assists and 14 digs.

Middle blocker Kennedy Eschenberg reached double-digit kills with 10 while hitting .526 on the day. The senior also led the team with eight blocks for the third match in a row. Freshman libero Madi Allen recorded a match-high 16 digs while defensive specialist Grace Wee ended the match with 13 digs.

BYU (14-1, 13-1 WCC) finished with an exceptional .376 hitting percentage while outblocking Saint Mary’s (7-10, 7-10 WCC) 10-4.

Final Box Score

Eschenberg and sophomore opposite Kate Grimmer blocked two Gael attack attempts to help the Cougars to a 7-2 advantage in the first game. Saint Mary’s used an 8-3 run to knot the score up at 10-all. Livingston then tallied three consecutive kills to make the score 16-11. After falling behind one point, BYU ended the set on an 8-1 run to take the first game, 25-19. Eschenberg and Grimmer both had four blocks apiece in the set to help hold the Gaels to a .023 hitting percentage.

Livingston opened the second set with two kills followed by two consecutive aces by freshman middle blocker Leilani Dodson to make the score 4-0. While the Cougars would maintain the lead throughout the entire set, the Gaels came within one point late in the game, 17-16. Serving specialist Tayler Hifo dropped two straight aces and Ballard Nixon connected on two kills to respond with a 4-0 run to put BYU up 21-16. Bower, Dodson and Eschenberg each recorded a kill to hold off Saint Mary’s and secure the set, 25-23.

After falling behind 5-2 in the third game, Ballard-Nixon totaled four kills to help the Cougars claim an 8-6 edge. The Gaels responded with a 7-2 run to reclaim the lead, 13-10. Two kills by Grimmer and a Bower ace fueled five consecutive points for BYU to make the score 15-13 in the Cougars’ favor. The two teams exchanged control two more times before BYU took command for the final time, 17-16. Both Eschenberg and Livingston added two more kills to their tally to clinch the set, 25-21, and the sweep.

BYU women’s volleyball will return home to the Smith Fieldhouse for its final series of the regular season against Santa Clara March 30-31. Both matches are scheduled to start at 1 p.m. MDT and will be broadcast on and the BYUtv App.

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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