Four Cougars set career-highs in 3-1 win at Montana

No. 17 BYU women’s volleyball closed out Ellesyn Invitational play with a 3-1 win against host Montana (25-21, 20-25, 25-16, 25-15) at Dahlberg Arena on Saturday night.


MISSOULA, Mont. — No. 17 BYU women’s volleyball closed out Ellesyn Invitational play with a 3-1 win against host Montana (25-21, 20-25, 25-16, 25-15) at Dahlberg Arena on Saturday night.


The Cougars improved to 3-0 on the season after recording a .229 hitting percentage on the match while holding the Grizzlies to a .105 clip.

BYU totaled 11 service aces, including five from setter Whitney Bower, tying a career-high, and career-highs from both libero Hannah Billeter (four aces) and middle blocker Mia Lee (two aces).

Middle blocker Whitney McEwan-Llarenas and outside hitter Elyse Stowell both joined Billeter and Lee with career nights, contributing a career-high nine and five total blocks, respectively.

Outside hitter Erin Livingston finished with a game-high 18 kills. Middle blocker Whitney McEwan-Llarenas added eight kills while Whitney Bower tallied six, both on a .667 clip. Whitney Bower also carded 32 assists and tied a career-high with seven total blocks.

Libero Kamaile Hiapo posted a game-high 17 digs as the Cougars both out-dug (50 to 47) and out-blocked (15 to seven) the Grizzlies on the night.

All-Tournament Team
Livingston and Bower were both named to the Ellesyn Invitational all-tournament team, with Livingston honored as the tournament MVP.

The outside hitter paced the Cougars with 52 kills, hitting .280 over three matches. She also added 23 digs, four blocks, two service aces and two assists. Bower totaled 106 assists at the Invitational, also recording 19 kills on a .545 clip. The setter tallied 34 digs, 12 blocks and seven service aces.

Set 1
McEwan-Llarenas opened the match with a slide kill before teaming up with Whitney Bower for a double block as BYU led 5-2 early. Montana reeled off six-consecutive points, however, to take an 8-5 lead and force a Cougar timeout.

Kills by Livingston and Claire Little out of the timeout made it 8-7 before a 5-0 BYU run saw the Cougars go in front, 12-9. After a 3-0 run, the Grizzlies tied the set at 13, but BYU answered with another 5-0 run to make it 18-13, including two Billeter service aces that spanned a Montana timeout.

A Whitney Bower kill and ace, followed by kills from Livingston and Prior put the Cougars in front 23-20 as the Grizzlies hung around, but another McEwan-Llarenas and Whitney Bower double block helped BYU pick up a 25-21 set win.

Set 2
Montana opened up a 7-2 lead in the second before the Cougars fought back, tying the set at 12-12 after two more McEwan-Llarenas and Whitney Bower double blocks, as well as a pair of Livingston kills.

BYU took its first lead at 14-13 on another Livingston kill and one from Stowell, but the Grizzlies took eight of the next 11 points to lead 21-17, spanning a Cougar timeout.

Kills by both Eden and Whitney Bower cut the Montana lead to three, but the Grizzlies took the next two points to earn a 25-20 set win and knot the match at one set apiece.

Set 3
Trading points early, BYU took a 5-3 lead on a Lee-Livingston double block and Whitney Bower ace. Taking six of the next 10 points, including kills from Stowell and Eden Bower, as well as a Mia Lee ace, the Cougars went ahead 11-7.

With two Livingston kills and one from McEwan-Llarenas, BYU took a 15-8 advantage into the media timeout. Livingston scored three-straight on her own as the Cougars doubled up Montana at 18-9, forcing a Grizzly timeout.

A Whitney Bower dump, another Livingston kill, Whitney Bower ace and Brielle Kemavor-Stowell double block capped off a 9-0 BYU run that spanned Montana’s second timeout.

After a Whitney Bower kill, the Grizzlies fought off five set points, and the Cougars called a timeout ahead 24-16. A Montana error helped BYU finish off the third, 25-16, and it went up 2-1 on the match.

Set 4
Two Billeter aces and another from Whitney Bower help set the tone as the Cougars raced out to a 9-2 lead. The Grizzlies took six of the next eight, however, forcing a BYU timeout at 11-8.

Three McEwan-Llarenas kills, one from Livingston and Whitney Bower’s fifth ace of the match had the Cougars leading 18-12, forcing a Montana timeout. A kill from Lee, as well as two double blocks with Lee and Stowell capped off a 6-0 BYU run that made it 22-12.

Two Stowell kills got the Cougars match point, and Stowell combined with McEwan-Llarenas to send back a double block, finishing things off for BYU, 25-15.

Up Next
BYU will return to Provo next week for a matchup with Loyola Marymount on Wednesday, Aug. 30 before hosting McNeese and UC Davis in the dōTERRA Classic. All three matches will be streamed on Big 12 Now on ESPN+.