No. 16 BYU defeats No. 17 Pepperdine in Olmstead's historic 200th-career win


PROVO, Utah — Middle blocker Whitney Llarenas’s career-high 13 kills helped No. 16 BYU outlast No. 17 Pepperdine (25-12, 18-25, 25-21, 25-22) to win its fourth-straight match and earn head coach Heather Olmstead's 200th-career win. 


"It feels great to have Cougar nation here supporting us," said Olmstead. "It was a hard-fought win and match for us. I was really proud of the group."

Achieving the 200-career win milestone in just 225 games, Olmstead is the fastest in NCAA Division I women’s volleyball history to hit the 200-win mark, surpassing the University of Hawaii's Dave Shoji, who reached 200 wins in 236 games back in 1987.

Fastest NCAA DI Women's Volleyball Coaches to Reach 200-Career Wins
1Heather Olmstead, BYU225 games2022
2Dave Shoji, Hawai'i236 games1987
3Terry Pettit, Nebraska238 games1988
T-4Don Shaw, Stanford244 games1991
T-4Russ Rose, Penn State244 games1987

BYU hit .219 in the match, downing 54 kills while holding Pepperdine to a .126 clip. Three Cougars finished with double-digit kills: Llarenas' career-high 13, Erin Livingston (13) and Heather Gneiting (12). Gneiting also sent back six blocks. Setter Whitney Bower posted a double-double, recording 41 assists and 13 digs.

Set One
The Cougars jumped out to an early 5-1 lead, paced by Gneiting's two quick kills. BYU continued to extend its lead, going ahead 11-6. A BYU overpass led to a big swing by the Waves that was stuffed by senior setter Whitney Bower, sending a shot of energy throughout the Smith Fieldhouse and giving the Cougars a 14-8 lead.

BYU won five-straight points to take a 20-9 lead after Whitney Bower caused Pepperdine to be out of system on consecutive plays. The Cougars were able to win the set 25-12, with their hitting percentage of .409 to the Waves' -0.067 a big difference. 

Set Two
The second set began back-and-forth as the two teams were tied early at six apiece. Pepperdine was able to break the tie, taking an 8-6 advantage. The Waves continued to apply the pressure as they extended their lead to seven, leading 17-10.

BYU called a timeout to stop the 5-0 scoring run by Pepperdine, but the Waves continued to control the set, leading 20-13. Pepperdine was able to win the set 25-18 and tie the match at one set apiece. Waves outside hitter Rachel Arenas led the way for Pepperdine with five kills in set two.

Set Three
The Cougars got off to a fast start in set three, leading 3-0. BYU was able to continue holding the lead at 8-5. The Waves were able to hang around and tie the set at 12-12, eventually going ahead 15-14, but the Cougars responded and took the lead back from Pepperdine, at 19-18.

Backed by kills from Erin Livingston, Llarenas, Elyse Stowell and Kate Grimmer, BYU was able to hang onto the lead and win the set, 25-21 to take a 2-1 match lead. Llarenas led BYU with five kills in the set.

Set Four
A service ace from Livingston gave the Cougars a 4-3 advantage early in set four. BYU continued to apply pressure as its lead was extended to 8-5. The Waves stayed afloat as they were able to tie the set at nine, but a Livingston kill gave the crowd life as the Cougars led by one, 11-10.

Pepperdine's Grace Chillingworth served an ace that tied the set at 13-13, but a Stowell kill gave the Cougars a 15-14 lead at the media timeout. Three-straight points by BYU put the Cougars up 18-15 and forced the Waves to call a timeout.

Another Livingston kill gave BYU a 21-17 lead, forcing Pepperdine to call its final timeout. A service ace by Gneiting gave the Cougars their first match point of the night with a 24-18 lead. Four-straight points by the Waves gave Pepperdine life, as BYU led 24-22, but a Livingston kill gave the Cougars the win, 25-22.

Going 2-0 to start WCC play, the Cougars will head to Portland next week for their first road trip of conference play, visiting the Pilots on Thursday, Sept. 29.