No. 13 Cougars fall to No. 17 Jayhawks, 3-1

No. 13 BYU women’s volleyball falls 3-1 (25-23, 20-25, 23-25, 22-25) to the No. 17 Kansas Jayhawks Friday night at the Smith Fieldhouse.

Mia Lee and Erin Livingston jump for joust at the net against No. 17 Kansas on November 17, 2023Mia Lee and Erin Livingston jump for joust at the net against No. 17 Kansas on November 17, 2023

PROVO, Utah — No. 13 BYU women’s volleyball fell to No. 17 Kansas, 3-1 (25-23, 20-25, 23-25, 22-25) on Friday night at the Smith Fieldhouse. 


Honoring four of its graduating seniors, BYU celebrated liberos Aria McComber and Kamaile Hiapo, middle blocker Whitney McEwan-Llarenas and setter Whitney Bower prior to the match.

The Jayhawks bested the Cougars (22-6, 11-5 Big 12) in attacking ending on a .284 clip compared to BYU’s .255 percentage. The Cougars recorded 10 blocks over Kansas’ eight. However, service errors plagued the Cougars as they tallied nine on the night. 

Outside hitter Erin Livingston led the offense for the BYU with 21 kills. Middle blockers Mia Lee and McEwan-Llarenas both reached double figures, with 11 kills, a career high for Lee. Whitney Bower recorded 48 assists and tallied a service ace.

Set 1
BYU got off to a fast start offensively as four Cougars recorded a kill in the opening points: Livingston, McEwan-Llarenas, Lee and Kate Prior. Livingston recorded three more kills, forcing the Jayhawks to take a timeout as BYU built its lead to five (12-7), hitting at a .750 clip.

Out of the timeout, the Jayhawks created momentum of their own going on a 4-0 run to force the Cougars to take a timeout up by just two points (16-14). The momentum continued to play in the Jayhawks favor as the visitors later tied the score at 19.

Eden Bower and Livingston each recorded kills, tipping over Kansas’ block and earning the Cougars a two-point lead (21-19).  Kansas kept fighting as they created a lead of their own at 23-22. Livingston then had two putdowns and Prior teamed up with Lee for a block to win the set for the Cougars, 25-23. 

Set 2
Kansas opened up an early four-point lead (8-4) on a service ace, three kills and four BYU errors, forcing the Cougars to take their first timeout of the set. The Jayhawks continued to control the pace of play, notching three kills in a row and forcing another BYU timeout ahead 12-6.

A Whitney Bower kill and block kickstarted a 6-1 run for the Cougars as BYU continued to fight back (16-13). The Jayhawks answered with a 6-2 run of their own as they turned the tide and built a seven-point lead (22-15). 

Three BYU blocks and a kill forced Kansas to take a timeout as their lead decreased to three (22-19). Out of the timeout, three Kansas kills earned the visitors the set at 25-20. 

Set 3
Elyse Stowell led the surge for the Cougars early with two blocks and two kills, earning BYU a five point lead at 11-6. Kansas responded with a 6-1 run of their own forcing BYU to make three errors and recording three kills to tie the set at 12.

Livingston recorded a kill, service ace and a block to bring the momentum back to the home team leading 18-15. Once again, the Jayhawks fought back tying the score at 20.

Kansas scored three-straight points before Livingston recorded her 15th and 16th kills of the night, bringing BYU within one point (23-22). The Jayhawks then killed two more balls to win the second set 25-23.

Set 4
Middle blockers Lee and McEwan-Llarenas powered the Cougars to an early 8-5 lead as each recorded two kills. Kansas was forced to take their first timeout of the set down 13-11 due to a blocking and two attacking errors. 

The Jayhawks tied the set out of the break at 14 a-piece before taking a one point lead and forcing the Cougars to take a timeout down 16-15. A kill by Stowell ended another Kansas run (4-0) as BYU trailed 18-16.

The visitors’ lead increased to four (20-16) before Whitney Bower earned two kills, powering BYU to a 4-0 run of its own. Livingston recorded a duo of kills in a last-chance effort to keep BYU alive, but the Jayhawks’ 5-2 final run earned Kansas the victory 25-22. 

Up Next
BYU will travel to Morgantown to face West Virginia on Wednesday at 6 p.m. EST. Watch the Cougars take on the Mountaineers live on Big 12 Now on ESPN+.