No. 12 BYU starts Panther Challenge with a sweep over Bowling Green
PITTSBURGH, Penn — No. 12 BYU women’s volleyball dominated Bowling Green State University at the Panther Challenge, sweeping the team in Pittsburgh, Penn. on Friday.
In the Fitzgerald Field House, junior setter Whitney Bower paced the team with 31 assists and 14 digs. She also led the team with a .800 hitting percentage on her season-high four kills.
Opposite hitter Kenzie Koerber tallied 11 kills and three aces. Plus, junior middle blocker Heather Gneiting and freshman outside hitter Sophia Callahan both added eight kills.
This is BYU’s second time sweeping the Falcons. The first time being back in 2012, when the teams faced each other in the Smith Fieldhouse. In 2013, the Falcons made a comeback in Ohio, topping the Cougars 3-2.
Right away, it was a tight match. The two traded points until 5-5. Koerber snagged the first kill for the Cougars. Gneiting followed with two kills of her own. The momentum continued with back-to-back kills by middle blocker Kennedy Eschenberg and outside hitter Erin Livingston, opening the gap to 12-7.
The Falcons closed the five-point gap when BGU’s outside hitter Kat Mandly had two kills, bringing the score to 13-10. However, three kills by Koerber, two kills by Callahan and a few errors on BGU’s part set the Cougars on a 7-0 run. Additional kills by Callahan, Livingston and Gneiting, plus an ace from Koerber, would seal a set win for BYU, 25-13
Koerber set the tone, immediately racking up three kills. An ace by Gneiting brought the score to 4-1. Rallying back-and-forth, BGU upped its kill count, along with four service errors by BYU, tying it up 10-10. This lit a fire under the Cougars. Three consecutive kills later by Gneiting and Bower widened the gap. Tacking on three service aces and a .361 clip, compared to Bowling Green’s .139, BYU managed a 25-16 win.
The kills continued to come quickly and often from BYU, starting off the set with kills from Eschenberg, Gneiting, Koerber and Bower. Sitting at 6-2, the Falcons continued to fight, staying within four points of the Cougars up until 21-16. Eschenberg managed two successive kills in the final moments of the game. She closed out the set with a block, aided by Livingston. In the end, BYU trumped Bowling Green 25-19.
Up next, the Cougars face No. 4 Pitt in Pittsburgh, Penn. at the Fitzgerald Field House. The match will take place on Friday, Sept. 10 at 7 p.m. EDT.
No. 12 BYU hits the road for the Panther Challenge
PROVO, Utah — Hitting the road for the first time this season, No. 12 BYU heads to Pittsburgh, Penn. for the Panther Challenge, taking place Sep. 10 and 11.
In addition to the Cougars, the Pittsburgh Panthers will host Bowling Green State University and High Point University. Below is a breakdown of this weekend’s schedule.
10 a.m. - HPU vs. PITT
12 p.m. - BYU vs. BGSU
7 p.m. - BYU vs. PITT
11 a.m. - HPU vs. BGSU
4 p.m. - BYU vs. HPU
7 p.m. - BGSU vs. PITT
No. 12 Brigham Young University Cougars (6-0, 0-0 West Coast Conference)
- Finished 2020-21 season as WCC champions and ranked No. 15 in the AVCA
- The 2021 team features four 2020-21 All-Americans: Taylen Ballard-Nixon, Whitney Bower, Kennedy Eschenberg and transfer Kenzie Koerber
- Currently on a six-match winning streak to start the season, after winning the dōTERRA Classic and the BYU Invitational
- BYU has swept five of its six competitors this season
- Junior middle blocker Heather Gneiting currently leads the NCAA in hitting percentage, boasting a .603 clip
- The WCC dubbed sophomore libero Madi Allen as Defensive Player of the Week
No. 4 University of Pittsburgh Panthers (5-0, 0-0 Atlantic Coast Conference)
- In the Atlantic Coast Conference Volleyball Preseason Coaches Poll, the team earned the top spot.
- The Panthers started the season ranked as No. 9 in the AVCA
- On Monday, outside hitter Kayla Lund made history as the team’s first athlete to earn National Player of the Week honors from the AVCA. Additionally, the ACC named her as Co-Player of the Week.
- In 2020, Pitt reached the Regional Finals in the NCAA Tournament, the team’s longest run in program history
Bowling Green University Falcons (3-3, 0-0 Mid-American Conference)
- The Falcons return 13 of their 15 letter winners from the 2020-21 season, including first-team All-MAC selections Petra Indrova, Hanna Laube and Katelyn Meyer
- On Monday, the Mid-American Conference honored Indrova as MAC East Offensive Player of the Week and Laube as MAC East Setter of the Week
- In the MAC Preseason Coaches’ Poll, BGSU was unanimously selected to win the MAC East
High Point University Panthers (5-2, 0-0 Big South)
- Last weekend, HPU swept three of its four opponents at the Black Knights Invitational
- Outside hitter Dylan Maberry leads the Big South Conference in total kills, managing 86 in seven matches
- On Aug. 30, the Big South Conference awarded outside hitter Sydney Palazzolo Player of the Week after her collegiate debut performance. She averaged 4.71 kills per set. Additionally, libero Jenny Wessling received the Freshman of the Week award, tallying 4.75 digs per set.
- BYU vs. Pitt can be seen via ACC Network Extra on Watch ESPN
- Live Stats - Sept. 10: SIDEARM
- Live Stats - Sept. 11: SIDEARM
Purchase your tickets online via pittsburghpanthers.com.