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.
Match Information
Utah State @ BYUThursday, September 17pm MDTBYUtv/BYUtv AppLive Stats
Cincinnati vs. PittFriday, September 210am MDTBYUtv AppLive Stats
Pitt vs. Utah StateFriday, September 25pm MDTBYUtv AppLive Stats
Cincinnati @ BYUFriday, September 27pm MDTBYUtv/BYUtv AppLive Stats
Utah State vs. CincinnatiSaturday, September 34pm MDTBYUtv AppLive Stats
Pitt @ BYUSaturday, September 37pm MDTBYUtv/BYUtv AppLive 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.