OREM, Utah – Senior outside hitter Taylen Ballard-Nixon totaled a career-high 19 kills to lead No. 14 BYU women’s volleyball to a 3-1 victory over Utah Valley (25-17, 22-25, 25-20, 25-20) on Thursday.
Ballard-Nixon recorded the 19 kills on a .371 clip while adding a career-high 13 digs to her stat line to complete the double-double. Sophomore opposite Kate Grimmer also recorded a career high in kills with 15 on a .343 hitting percentage. Freshman outside hitter Leilani Dodson contributed eight kills while adding three aces and three blocks.
Freshman libero Madi Allen totaled 20 digs and six assists while sophomore setter Whitney Bower had 17 digs of her own along with 47 assists.
Grimmer had four kills early in the first game to help BYU (3-0, 2-0 WCC) take an 14-10 lead over UVU (2-1, 2-0 WAC). Ballard-Nixon and Dodson both contributed a pair of kills late in the set to help the Cougars take the first game, 25-17.
BYU jumped out to an early 12-7 advantage behind three kills by Grimmer and two kills by Ballard-Nixon. The Wolverines outscored the Cougars 10-3 to claim a 19-18 edge. Kills by middle blocker Allie Hakes and Bower briefly reclaimed the lead for BYU before Utah Valley won the set, 25-22.
The Cougars opened up the third game with a 5-0 run fueled by two Ballard-Nixon kills. Bower dropped consecutive aces to make the score 13-9. BYU scored six-straight points to break a 13-13 tie and claim a 19-13 advantage. Ballard-Nixon added two more late kills to clinch the set, 25-20.
Both teams traded points early in the fourth game with UVU taking an early 12-9 lead. The Cougars reclaimed the advantage following a kill by outside hitter Erin Livingston and back-to-back Wolverine errors, 18-16. Livingston added three more kills to help secure the set, 25-20.
BYU will return to league play next week with a two-match series against Gonzaga at the Smith Fieldhouse. The Cougars will host the Bulldogs in their home opener Tuesday, Feb. 9, at 6 p.m. MT. The two teams will then play again Wednesday, Feb. 10, at 4 p.m. MT at the Smith Fieldhouse.