No. 12 BYU Sweeps Loyola Marymount
PROVO, Utah – No. 12 BYU women’s volleyball took the first match of a two-match series against Loyola Marymount, defeating the Lions in straight sets (25-21, 25-20, 25-19) at the Smith Fieldhouse on Tuesday.
Sophomore opposite hitter Kate Grimmer led the Cougars with 12 kills on a .667 clip. Senior middle blocker Kennedy Eschenberg totaled 10 kills on a .562 hitting percentage in her return to the starting lineup after missing the last three matches. Eschenberg also led the team in blocks with a season high of six, including one solo. Junior setter Tayler Hifo totaled a career-high four aces, all of which coming in the first set. Sophomore setter Whitney Bower finished with four kills while helping the Cougars hit .416 on the night with a match-high 37 assists.
BYU (6-0, 5-0 WCC) outblocked LMU (3-4, 3-4 WCC) 7.5-0, marking the first time an opponent has been held blockless since the Cougars' swept Sacramento State in 2017.
LMU jumped out to an early 5-3 lead with the help of a Lions ace and three errors by the Cougars. Freshman outside hitter Leilani Dodson provided BYU’s first ace of the night to tie the match, 6-6. Consecutive kills by Eschenberg and freshman outside hitter Erin Livingston gave the Cougars their first lead at 8-6. Hifo had three straight aces to give BYU a five-point advantage, 14-9. The Lions climbed back to cut the deficit to two points, 23-21. Eschenberg tallied her fourth kill of the first game to extend the Cougars' lead to 24-21. Hifo ended the set from the service line, recording her fourth ace and giving BYU the 25-21 win.
Grimmer had three quick kills to begin the second game that gave the Cougars a 5-4 edge. The score remained close until a block by Eschenberg gave BYU a three-point cushion, 11-8. The two teams continued to battle as LMU tied the game up at 15-all. A block and a kill by Eschenerg helped the Cougars reclaim the lead, 19-16. Sophomore outside hitter Abbey Dayton recorded BYU's eighth ace of the night to make the score 24-20, while an LMU error clinched the set for the Cougars, 25-20.
A kill by Bower gave BYU a 7-5 lead at the beginning of the third game. The two teams continued to go back and forth until a pair of Cougar blocks and a kill by Eschenberg gave BYU its largest lead of the set, 20-16. Senior outside hitter Taylen Ballard-Nixon’s seventh kill of the night increased the Cougars' lead to 23-17. A kill by Grimmer ended the night and secured the sweep, 25-19.
BYU and LMU will meet again tomorrow, Feb. 17, at 7 p.m. MST in the Smith Fieldhouse. The match will be streamed on BYUtv.org and the BYUtv App.
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