No. 10 Cougars drop first road match at No. 5 Yellow Jackets
Photo credit: Brady McBride/Georgia Tech Athletics
ATLANTA — No. 10 BYU women’s volleyball fell to No. 5 Georgia Tech in three sets (20-25, 21-25, 14-25) at O’Keefe Gymnasium in its first game of the Georgia Tech Classic on Thursday.
The Cougars recorded 32 kills on the night, but hit just .191 to the Yellow Jackets’ 42 kills on a .292 clip. BYU tallied 30 digs, five blocks and three service aces, but also had nine service errors.
Junior outside hitter Erin Livingston led the Cougars with 10 kills and senior setter Whitney Bower finished with 23 assists. Senior opposite hitter Kate Grimmer and senior libero Aria McComber both added six digs each, with Heather Gneiting contributing three blocks.
Down 1-0 to start the match, kills by Gneiting and Livingston helped BYU open up a 4-1 lead. A kill by Livingston and a block by both Whitney Llarenas and Livingston then put the Cougars up 7-3.
Trading points, two Llarenas kills and a Kelsey Knudsen ace made it 10-6, BYU, but a 9-2 Georgia Tech run had the Yellow Jackets ahead by three at the media timeout, 15-12.
Coming out of the timeout, both Gneiting and Llarenas landed kills off of slide attacks. Livingston put down a kill of her own before BYU tied it up at 17-all after two Georgia Tech errors. The Yellow Jackets then took a two-point lead on a service error and overpass kill, forcing a Cougar timeout.
Two more Georgia Tech points had BYU down 21-17, leading to a second BYU timeout. Kills by Llarenas, Gneiting and Eden Bower made it 24-20, but the Yellow Jackets finished the first with a kill of the block, 25-20.
Livingston opened up the second set with two-straight kills. Whitney Bower and Gneiting teamed up for a double block and had the Cougars up 3-0 early. Another Livingston kill and Gneiting ace then made it 5-2.
Livingston landed a cross-court kill, her seventh of the match, and a Georgia Tech error put BYU up 8-5. Two Eden Bower kills and a couple Yellow Jacket errors gave the Cougars a 12-9, before three-straight Tech points tied the match at 12.
Two Yellow Jacket service errors sandwiched by a Whitney Bower dump kill had BYU up 15-14 at the media timeout. A 4-0 Georgia Tech run out of the media timeout forced a Cougar timeout, and the Yellow Jackets got a service ace before a service error ended their 5-0 run.
Livingston served an ace of her own, making it 20-17, Tech, causing a Yellow Jacket timeout. The two teams traded errors before a Llarenas kill cut the GT lead to 21-19.
Back-to-back kills by Georgia Tech’s Julia Bergmann gave the Yellow Jackets set point, which a Gneiting kill slowed, but Bergmann closed out the set, 25-21 on the ensuing play with another kill.
Georgia Tech opened up the third set with five-consecutive points, including three on service aces, to force a BYU timeout, notching another kill coming out of it before a Grimmer kill stopped the run to make it 6-1.
It was 9-4 after two Gneiting kills, but a 3-0 Yellow Jacket run had BYU behind eight, at 12-4, forcing a timeout. Three BYU errors and two Georgia Tech kills coming out of the timeout stretched the Yellow Jacket lead to 13 before a Gneiting kill ended the 8-0 run.
A dump kill by Whitney Bower, two kills by Livingston and a Tech error had the Cougars on a 4-0 run, forcing a Yellow Jacket timeout at 19-9.
Llarenas and Kate Prior put down a block out of the timeout to make it 19-10, but five Tech points were sandwiched by a Livingston kill, bringing up match point at 24-11.
A Georgia Tech service error and kills by Gneiting and Sophia Callahan drew the Cougars within 10, but a service error ended the match at 25-14.
The Cougars will be back at O’Keefe Gymnasium on Friday, Sept. 8 to face No. 8 Ohio State in their second and final Georgia Tech Classic match at 7 p.m. EDT. The match will not be streamed, but a radio call and live stats will be available.
No. 10 BYU hits the road for two top-10 matchups
PROVO, Utah — After hosting back-to-back early season tournaments during the first two weeks of the season, No. 10 BYU women’s volleyball hits the road for the first time, traveling to Atlanta for the Georgia Tech Classic.
The Cougars went 2-1 in the BYU Nike Invitational last week, sweeping Utah State and beating Cincinnati in four sets before falling to then-No. 10 Pitt in four.
BYU dropped just three spots in this week’s American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) poll following the loss, ensuring that its two games this week will both be Top 10 matchups.
Host and Thursday’s opponent, Georgia Tech, as well as Friday’s opponent, Ohio State, both remained in the No. 5 and No. 8 spots in the AVCA poll, respectively.
No. 10 BYU @ No. 5 Georgia Tech
- Thursday, September 8 (7 p.m. EDT)
- O'Keefe Gymnasium (Atlanta, GA)
- ACC Network Extra
- Georgia Tech Radio
- Live Stats
No. 10 BYU vs. No. 8 Ohio State
- Friday, September 9 (7 p.m. EDT)
- O'Keefe Gymnasium (Atlanta, GA)
- No television/live stream
- Georgia Tech Radio
- Live Stats
Under head coach Heather Olmstead, BYU is 25-15 against ranked opponents, and 7-10 against top-10 teams. Since Olmstead’s hiring in 2015, the Cougars are 8-6 against ranked opponents on the road and 4-5 at neutral sites.
Winners of 10-straight road matches, the Cougars are led by junior outside hitter Erin Livingston, whose 86 kills on the year ranked 49th nationally, and senior middle blocker Whitney Llarenas, who stands at 42nd in the country with 28 total blocks.
No. 5 Georgia Tech (5-0, 0-0 ACC)
- The Yellow Jackets went 3-0 in the GT Invitational last weekend, beating Dayton, Arizona State and FIU, dropping just one set to the Sun Devils
- Senior All-American outside hitter Julie Bergmann leads Georgia Tech with 92 kills in five matches
- Four other Yellow Jacket hitters have also recorded double-digit kills this season: Erin Moss (38), Bianca Bertolino (30), Breland Morrissette (27) and Tamara Otene (24)
- Head coach Michelle Collier is in her ninth season with Georgia Tech, posting a 157-92 record since 2014
- This will be the first matchup between the Cougars and Yellow Jackets on the volleyball court
No. 8 Ohio State (1-3, 0-0 Big Ten)
- The Buckeyes were swept by then-No. 15 San Diego before upending then-No. 3 Louisville in four sets at the Cardinal Classic in Kentucky last weekend
- Six of 10 Ohio State hitters have tallied double-digit kills on the year, including this week’s Big Ten Co-Player of the Week, Emily Londot, whose 62 kills lead the team
- Senior defensive specialist Kylie Murr leads the Buckeyes with 47 digs. Six of the 10 Ohio State players who have seen action this season have recorded 12 or more digs.
- Entering her third season as Ohio State head coach, Jen Flynn Oldenburg has a 44-13 record since 2020-21
- The Cougars and Buckeyes have met nine times previously, with BYU leading the series 9-0
- BYU head coach Heather Olmstead has faced a ranked Ohio State twice during her tenure, picking up a 2016 five-set win in Columbus, and a four-set win in Provo a year later