No. 7 Cougars fall to No. 10 Panthers, 3-1
PROVO, Utah — No. 7 BYU women’s volleyball dropped its first match of the 2022 season to the No. 10 Pittsburgh, 3-1 at the Smith Fieldhouse on Saturday night.
The Cougars had an uncharacteristic hitting night as they posted a .260 percentage, their second-lowest of the season. Erin Livingston led the Cougars with a career-high 20 kills on a .320 clip, while also grabbing three digs, two service aces and two blocks.
Livingston, after the career night, along with Whitney Llarenas, were both named to the BYU Nike Invitational all-tournament team.
Llarenas finished with 10 kills, hitting .300 on the night while also carding six blocks and a dig. Kate Grimmer set a career-high in digs with 21, besting her previous high of 10 against Washington State last week.
Whitney Bower got the Cougars on the board with an out of system dump-kill to even the match at one. Pitt notched three kills, a service ace and a BYU error to take an 8-5 lead early in set one, leading to the first BYU timeout of the set.
Out of the timeout, the Panthers scored four of the next five points to take command of the first set with a 12-6 lead before a kill from Grimmer stopped the Panther run. After being down six, a kill from Eden Bower and a block by Whitney Bower and Gneiting cut the deficit to four before Pitt registered two straight kills.
A kill off the block by Gneiting and an over-pass dropped for the Cougars, who again pulled within four, 15-11. The Panthers stretched the lead once more, winning three of the next four points to take an 18-12 advantage, forcing a second BYU timeout.
Following the break, BYU responded with four of the next six points, courtesy of kills from Grimmer, Llarenas and Gneiting. Despite a Cougar run that brought them within four, the Panthers took three of the last four points with two kills and a block to close out the set 25-19.
Early kills from Livingston and an ace from Gneiting gave the Cougars a 4-2 lead, but the Panthers stormed back, winning four of six to take a 6-5 advantage.
After trading points, BYU finally found some breathing room as it took a 13-11 lead with a kill from Gneiting and a dump by Whitney Bower. BYU extended the lead to 15-13 before Pitt went on a 5-0 run to flip the script and take an 18-15 advantage leading to the first BYU timeout of the set.
Out of the timeout, BYU scored four of the next five points with two kills from Sophia Callahan, an ace from Grimmer and a Pitt attack error to tie the match at 19.
With the Panthers leading 22-20, Livingston went inside the block for a kill to draw within one before Llarenas blocked Pitt’s All-American middle to tie the set at 22, and helped the Fieldhouse erupt, but Pitt registered three-straight kills to take set two, 25-22.
The score was knotted with BYU and Pitt trading points until the Cougars took a 9-7 lead on back-to-back kills from Livingston. The Panthers rebounded with three-straight of their own to move ahead, 10-9.
Llarenas carded back-to-back kills to retake the lead for the Cougars, 12-11, before Eden Bower put away two kills with a Grimmer and Gneiting block to give the Cougars their first three-point lead of the night.
The Cougars added to the advantage with a kill from Eden Bower and back-to-back put aways by Livingston to go up 19-14. Pitt took its second timeout after going down 20-15.
Out of the timeout, a tip off the block from Livingston and a slide from Llarenas gave the Cougars a six-point lead, their largest of the night. Two-straight kills from Livingston and Llarenas gave BYU its first set point of the night. Llarenas and Grimmer finished it off with a roof on the right side to cut into the 2-1 Pitt lead.
Livingston and Eden Bower recorded back-to-back kills to give the Cougars their first lead of the fourth set, but the Panthers responded with four of the next five to take an 8-5 lead, which led to a BYU timeout.
The Panthers continued their run after the break with two straight to stretch the lead to 11-6 before Gneiting put away a cross-court kill. Pitt expanded the lead to six, 13-7, with two-straight kills before BYU took its second timeout with the Panthers leading 15-8.
The Cougars immediately cut into the lead with four of the next five points out of the timeout. Two kills from Llarenas and an ace by Livingston cut the lead to 16-12 before a Llarenas block on a BYU over-pass sent life back into the BYU faithful.
BYU cut the Panther lead to three eight times during the final 18 points of the match but Pitt refused to let BYU any closer as they stifled every Cougar comeback opportunity. The Panthers took set four 25-21 to hand BYU its first loss of the season.
The Cougars will travel to Atlanta, Georgia, next week for the Georgia Tech Classic where they will take on the host Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets at 7 p.m. CDT on Thursday, Sept 8 at the O'Keefe Gymnasium.
Cougars prepare for BYU Nike Invitational
PROVO, Utah — Coming off a 3-0 opening weekend, No. 7 BYU women's volleyball readies to host Utah State, Cincinnati and No. 10 Pittsburgh in the BYU Nike Invitational at the Smith Fieldhouse this week.
The Cougars moved up from No. 10 to No. 7 in the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) poll, the association announced on Monday. Pitt, one of the three teams that BYU will host this week was ranked No. 10 in this week's poll.
15 of BYU's 19 players got to play in the last week's season opening-sweep of Rider, including freshman middle blocker Kate Prior, who recorded her first career block, and freshman outside hitter Eden Bower, who tallied five kills in the match.
Senior middle blockers Heather Gneiting (15) and Whitney Llarenas (9) both set carer-highs in kills as the Cougars beat Duke in four sets. Eden Bower then set a new carer-high in kills with 10 against Washington State on Saturday night.
Utah State (2-0, 0-0 MWC)
- The Aggies went 2-0 in the Utah State Invitational last weekend, including a 3-1 win over No. 12 UCLA
- Through two matches, Utah State has four players with double-digit kills on the season: Kylee Stokes (29), Tatum Stall (21), Emilee Turner (21) and Kennedi Boyd (15)
- Coached by Rob Neilson, the Aggies are 29-19 during his three-year tenure
- BYU leads the all-time series with Utah State, 51-15. The Cougars last played the Aggies on September 13, 2011, sweeping Utah State, 3-0.
- This will be the first time the Cougars play the Aggies, BYU head coach Heather Olmstead's alma mater, during her time at the helm
Cincinnati (1-2, 0-0 AAC)
- The Bearcats travel to Provo after going 1-2 during their opening weekend, beating Florida State after falling to Illinois State and Dayton
- Sophomore middle blocker Abbey Walker leads Cincinnati with 41 kills through three matches. Walker is one of five Bearcat hitters with double-digit kills and one of four with 20+ kills.
- Senior libero Payton Frederick and Walker were both named to the American Athletic Conference (AAC) weekly honor roll on Monday, Aug. 29
- Head coach Molly Alvey is in her 11th season with Cincinnati, posting a 165-138 record since 2012
- Friday's match between the Cougars and Bearcats will mark the first time the two teams meet in volleyball
No. 10 Pitt (2-1, 0-0 ACC)
- The Panthers went 2-1 in the Texas A&M Invitational last weekend, dropping their season opener to then No. 25 San Diego in five sets before sweeping both Hawai'i and Texas A&M
- Valeria Vasquez Gomez (34) and Juliana Dalton (33) lead Pittsburgh in kills and are two of six Panther hitters with double-digit kills through week one
- In his tenth season as Pitt head coach, Dan Fisher boasts a 229-59 record
- The Cougars and Panthers have met just twice on the volleyball court, splitting the all-time series. Pitt won last season's matchup in Pittsburgh, 3-1.
|Utah State @ BYU||Thursday, September 1||7pm MDT||BYUtv/BYUtv App||Live Stats|
|Cincinnati vs. Pitt||Friday, September 2||10am MDT||BYUtv App||Live Stats|
|Pitt vs. Utah State||Friday, September 2||5pm MDT||BYUtv App||Live Stats|
|Cincinnati @ BYU||Friday, September 2||7pm MDT||BYUtv/BYUtv App||Live Stats|
|Utah State vs. Cincinnati||Saturday, September 3||4pm MDT||BYUtv App||Live Stats|
|Pitt @ BYU||Saturday, September 3||7pm MDT||BYUtv/BYUtv App||Live Stats|
Fans will need tickets to attend the three BYU matches against Utah State, Cincinnati and Pitt. The non-BYU games on both Friday and Saturday will be non-ticketed and open seating.