Smith Fieldhouse Provo UT 84606
No. 18 Cougars sweep Gaels for fifth-consecutive win
PROVO, Utah — No. 18 BYU women’s volleyball swept Saint Mary’s (25-18, 30-28, 25-19) at the Smith Fieldhouse on Saturday afternoon for its fifth-consecutive win.
The Cougars (19-5, 13-2 WCC) out-hit the Gaels .365 to .231 on the day while totaling 50 kills, 47 assists, 40 digs and six blocks. Livingston led the team with 20 kills on a .378 clip to go along with three digs and one block. Freshman middle blocker Kate Prior led the Cougars with a .667 hitting percentage, recording nine kills.
“I was focusing on high energy and effective swings," Prior said. "I’m so grateful for the opportunity to play at BYU and I love this team. During the game, we focused on putting all of our energy in to every single point. That allowed us to get the job done."
The Gaels took an early 5-3 lead, but two kills by Elyse Stowell, including a line shot, gave the Cougars some momentum to take the lead at 8-7. Stowell would be one of BYU’s offensive leaders in set one, swinging at a .500 clip with three kills and one block.
A kill by Whitney Llarenas took the score to 21-17, one of BYU’s biggest leads in the set, forcing Saint Mary's to take its first timeout. Prior also registered three kills in the first set. A hitting error by the Gaels would end the first set at 25-18. Erin Livingston set the tone for the Cougars offensively with five kills on a .333 clip and three digs in the opening frame.
In the second set, there were no runs by either team above three points, with multiple ties throughout. After the Gaels took a 10-6 lead, the Cougars called a timeout. High swings by Llarenas took the score to 14-12 Saint Mary's, adding two kills to her running total of six.
Tied at 15-all, the Gaels were able to increase a narrow lead to 17-16. Livingston’s eighth kill of the match brought it to 20-19. With the game tied again at 22-22, a kill during the next point by Livingston would ignite the Smith Fieldhouse. During six total set points, the arena was on their feet as BYU pulled off a 30-28 second set win, looking to sweep the match.
Livingston kicked off set three with her 13th kill. Alyssa Montoya subbed in to serve for BYU and recorded an ace, one out giving BYU a 7-5 lead. The Cougars maintained their three-point advantage after a successful challenge, leading 11-8.
A set dump by Abby Taylor took the score to 18-17. Taylor would finish the match with 34 assists, 12 digs and four kills. Three-straight kills by Livingston made the score 21-17. Another kill by Taylor forced Saint Mary's second timeout at 22-17. Llarenas closed the set with her tenth kill, securing a 25-19 set three win and 3-0 sweep.
The Cougars will travel to California next week for their final WCC road trip of the season, with games at Pepperdine and Loyola Marymount. Both matches will be streamed on the WCC Network.
No. 18 BYU hosts Saint Mary's in penultimate home match
PROVO, Utah — Riding a four-match win streak, including three wins via 3-0 sweeps, No. 18 BYU women’s volleyball welcomes Saint Mary’s to the Smith Fieldhouse on Saturday afternoon.
The Cougars (18-5, 12-2 WCC) remained at No. 18 in this week’s American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) poll. Dating back to 2013, BYU has been ranked in the Top 25 for 147-consecutive polls.
Originally scheduled to host Pacific in a West Coast Conference (WCC) matchup on Thursday night, the Tigers chose to forfeit the match. As a result, the WCC has recognized the forfeit as a win for standings purposes. The NCAA views the match as a cancellation, so that win will not be credited towards the Cougars’ overall or home records.
No. 18 BYU vs. Saint Mary’s
Going 12-1 at home this season, BYU head coach Heather Olmstead is 112-6 (.949) at the Smith Fieldhouse all-time, with a 123-10 (.925) record in WCC play. The Cougars have won 27-straight WCC matches at the Fieldhouse.
Olmstead’s teams are a perfect 15-0 against Saint Mary's, picking up six wins in Provo and nine in Moraga since 2015, dropping just five sets to the Gaels in that span. BYU has swept six of the last seven matchups.
The Cougars remain at No. 4 in the nation with a .300 team hitting percentage, also ranking 28th in kills per set (13.87) and 29th in assists per set (12.83). BYU’s hitting percentage and kills per set average continue to lead the WCC.
Middle blocker Whitney Llarenas sits atop the conference and at No. 11 nationally with a .410 hitting clip on the season. Fellow middle blocker Heather Gneiting is a block away from hitting 100 on the season, at 99 total blocks. Averaging 1.27 blocks per set, Gneiting is 41st in the nation in the statistical category.
Outside hitter Erin Livingston ranks No. 23 in the country in kills per set, at 4.24, and No. 30 in points per set, at 4.75. Both marks are good for second in conference. Livingston leads the team with 331 kills this season.
Saint Mary’s (7-15, 4-10 WCC)
- The Gaels are on a four-match losing streak, most recently being swept by San Diego on Thursday night
- Since BYU and Saint Mary’s last met, the Gaels swept Santa Clara, 3-0
- Hawley Harrer leads the team with 246 kills, while Ella Sandt has dished out 567 assists
- Makenna Joyce paces the Gaels with 267 digs. Kjersti Strong and Kristen Erland have sent back 74 and 58 total blocks, respectively.
- Genevieve Bane (29) and Sandt (27) lead Saint Mary’s in service aces
- Rob Browning has been head coach of the Gaels for 18 seasons, posting a 255-232 record in that time
- BYU leads the all-time series with Saint Mary’s, 22-6. The Cougars are 10-2 against the Gaels at the Smith Fieldhouse.
Following BYU’s Saturday afternoon matchup with Saint Mary’s, the Cougars will head to Los Angeles for their final WCC road trip of the season for games at Pepperdine and LMU. Both matches will be streamed on the WCC Network.