No. 15 BYU dominates No. 10 Utah with a rivalry sweep


PROVO, Utah — No. 15 BYU women’s volleyball swept No. 10 Utah, handing the Utes their first loss of the season and racking up another victory (25-23, 25-23, 25-16) for the Cougars over the Utes after Saturday's football win.

5,140 fans packed the Smith Fieldhouse Thursday night for the fourth-highest attendance in program history. The Cougars recorded 53 kills and a .299 hitting percentage, towering over Utah’s 30 kills and .163 clip. This is BYU's highest kill count of the season in matches that lasted less than four sets. 

“It was truly so awesome to see the kind of heart we can play with,” said BYU opposite hitter Kenzie Koerber. “I’m so proud of this team for the adversity that we faced and how we were able to stay composed and sweep a good Utah team.”

Koerber, who transferred from Utah just prior to this season, led the Cougars with 14 kills and six digs. Middle blocker Kennedy Eschenberg followed with 12 kills and two blocks. Her .478 hitting percentage stood as the team's highest for the night.

Recording a double-double, junior setter Whitney Bower recorded 33 assists and 16 digs.

With this sweep, BYU women's volleyball now holds a 74-29 all-time record over Utah.

Utah earned the first three points of the match, but BYU quickly caught up. A kill from junior middle blocker Heather Gneiting earned the Cougars their first point of the match. Koerber slammed three back-to-back-to-back kills, giving BYU the lead. In the first set alone, she contributed seven kills. BYU never lost its lead. Trumping Utah's .139 clip with a .237, the Cougars secured the set, 25-23.

Immediately, Eschenberg brought the score to 2-0 with a kill and a block. The Cougars would run with this lead, leading by 10 points at 20-10. However, Utah fought back with a 6-0 run, diminishing BYU's lead to just 22-19. A final kill by Eschenberg brought the score to 25-23, favoring BYU. Ultimately, 41 attacks by the Cougars trumped Utah's 29.

Utah gained a lead at the beginning of the third set, but it was short-lived. BYU pushed back with a 10-0 scoring run, bringing the score to 12-5. The Cougars would maintain a comfortable lead throughout the rest of the set. Senior setter Tayler Hifo recorded three aces in the set. On a roll, Gneiting tacked on five kills, followed by Eschenberg's finale kill. This finalized the sweep with a 25-16 win. 

Coming up, the Cougars will face Utah Valley University on Saturday, Sept. 18. The match will take place at 6 p.m. MDT in the Lockhart Arena.