No. 9 BYU heads to No. 10 Texas for a pair of matches

No. 9 BYU women’s volleyball embarks on its first conference road trip as a member of the Big 12 this week, heading to Austin for a pair of matches at No. 10 Texas.

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PROVO, Utah — No. 9 BYU women’s volleyball embarks on its first conference road trip as a member of the Big 12 this week, heading to Austin for a pair of matches at No. 10 Texas. The Cougars and Longhorns will face off on back-to-back nights, with Thursday’s match televised on FS1 and Friday’s streamed on the Longhorn Network.

BYU moved up a spot to No. 9 in this week's AVCA poll, marking 156-consecutive polls in the AVCA Top 25 and 147-straight in the top 18. This will be the third- and fourth-conseuctive Top 25 matchup in a row for the Cougars after facing No. 20 Houston and No. 18 Baylor a week ago. It will also mark their second and third top-10 matches in 2023.

No. 9 BYU @ No. 10 Texas
Date Time Television/Stream Live Stats
Thursday, Sept. 28 8 p.m. CDT Fox Sports 1 Sidearm Stats
Friday, Sept. 29 7 p.m. CDT Longhorn Network Sidearm Stats

BYU picked up two sweeps to open league action last week, beating Houston and Baylor at the Smith Fieldhouse. The Cougars hit .250 against UH before a season-high .387 vs. the Bears en route to the pair of three-set wins.

Outside hitter Erin Livingston led the way with 25 kills, hitting .321 for the week. Middle blocker Whitney McEwan-Llarenas added 13 on a .407 clip, while Kate Prior pitched in 11.

Setter Whitney Bower dished out 51 assists, surpassing the 4,000 career assists mark during the match against Baylor. Livingston also hit a career milestone, recording her 1000th kill midway through the Houston match.

Livingston and McEwan-Llarenas were named the Big 12 Offensive and Defensive Player of the Week on Tuesday morning. It was the second Big 12 award of the season for Livingston and first of the year for McEwan-Llarenas, the second for both of their careers.

Finishing with game-high kills in both of the Cougars’ Top 25 matches, Livingston added three service aces to go along with her 25 kills, ranking second in conference with a 5.2 points per set average.

McEwan-Llarenas paced the Cougars with 16 total blocks on the week, finishing with game-high blocks in both of BYU's matches against ranked foes to open conference play. She averaged a league-leading 2.67 blocks per set between the two matches and also posted a career-high five digs against UH.

As a team, the Cougars continue to rank first in conference in opponent hitting percentage (.132) and second in both team hitting percentage (.273) and total service aces (81).

Individually, Livingston and libero Hannah Billeter both rank No. 2 in league with the outside hitter’s 211 points and Billeter’s 24 service aces. Billeter ranks 29th nationally in aces per set (0.52), while middle blocker Mia Lee (1.33) and McEwan-Llarenas (1.32) are No. 33 and 38, respectively in blocks per set.

Hitting the road, BYU prepares for its first matchup against Texas in four seasons and first in Austin since 2016.

No. 10 Texas (7-3, 2-0 Big 12)

  • The Longhorns picked up two sweeps at Oklahoma to open conference play last week.
  • Two of Texas’ three losses this season have been to Top 25 teams, including a four-setter to Washington State, who beat BYU earlier in the year as well.
  • Head coach Jerritt Elliott is in his 23rd season with the Longhorns, posting a 568-113 (.834) record. He is 618-125 (.806) all-time).
  • BYU leads the all-time series, 10-9, with a 2-4 record in Austin. Cougar head coach Heather Olmstead is 1-2 against Texas during her tenure.

After four-consecutive Top 25 matchups to open Big 12 play, BYU will have a long week to prepare for a single match at Oklahoma on Saturday, Oct. 7.