No. 12 BYU suffers first loss of season
MALIBU, Calif. – No. 12 BYU women’s volleyball lost its first match of the 2020-21 season, falling to Pepperdine in straight sets (20-25, 16-25, 19-25) on Tuesday at the Firestone Fieldhouse.
Freshman outside hitter Erin Livingston led the team with 10 kills on a .333 clip and sophomore outside hitter Abbey Dayton matched her career high of 10 digs. Junior setter Tayler Hifo totaled a career-high 14 assists while sophomore setter Whitney Bower finished with 13.
BYU (7-1, 6-1 WCC) entered the match hitting .329, the seventh-best percentage in the NCAA Division I. Pepperdine (7-0, 7-0) held the Cougars to a season-worst .178 hitting percentage while outblocking BYU 7-4.
The Waves jumped out to an 8-2 lead over the Cougars to begin the first set. Pepperdine remained in control, extending its lead to 24-15. BYU scored five-straight points to close the gap to four points before the Waves secured the set, 25-20.
Trailing early in the second game, senior middle blocker Kennedy Eschenberg converted a pair of kills to tie the match at 10-all. A 9-1 Pepperdine run put the Waves up 19-11. Freshman outside hitter Leilani Dodson recorded two kills to cut the deficit to 23-16. Pepperdine held off the comeback, winning the set 25-16.
The Waves opened up the third set with an 11-4 lead. Three kills by Livingston and an ace by Bower brought BYU within a single point, 14-13. Pepperdine countered with a 6-2 run to regain control of the match. The Cougars failed to recover and dropped their first match of the 2020-21 season, 25-19.
BYU and Pepperdine will play the second half of the two-match series on Wednesday, Feb. 24. First serve at the Firestone Fieldhouse is set for 7 p.m. and the match will be broadcast on the WCC Network.
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