No. 13 BYU edges Weber State in a 3-2 win
PROVO, Utah – No. 13 BYU women's volleyball secured an opening-match victory to start up the BYU Invitational Thursday night in a thrilling five-set match (25-23, 23-25, 25-18, 19-25, 15-4) against Weber State.
BYU tallied 11 aces in the match, its highest total for the season and most since a 12-ace performance seven years ago against UMBC. Senior setter Tayler Hifo had two of the aces Thursday night, coming at a crucial time in the fifth set, aiding the Cougars with a 5-0 run.
“You can’t get too caught up," Hifo said, "so I just focused on my job. We just needed to stay in the moment, focusing on what we could control and executing the right energy.”
BYU senior opposite hitter Kenzie Koerber recorded a double-double with 17 kills and 13 digs. Junior setter Whitney Bower contributed 55 assists and 13 digs.
The Cougars spread out the kill count with 12 kills from both senior Taylen Ballard-Nixon and sophomore Erin Livingston. Senior Kennedy Eschenberg and junior Heather Gneiting added another 10 kills each.
The teams played a tightly-fought set with the Cougars coming out on top at the end (25-23). Weber State went on a 5-1 run early on, but was stopped by a block from BYU's Gneiting and Bower. The Wildcats continued to lead throughout most of the set. However, the Cougars came away with the first win after racking up the three final points.
The two teams continued to put up a fight. BYU went on a 6-0 run, assisted by sophomore libero Madi Allen’s second ace of the night. The Wildcats fought back to take the lead and won the second set (25-23). Weber had a .286 hitting percentage, holding the Cougars to .167.
BYU came out strong, with a comfortable lead throughout the third set. The Cougars put together a 9-2 run to maintain their lead. Weber put up a fight at set point, but failed to hold off BYU. Winning 25-18, the Cougars recorded two more aces and their highest hitting percentage of the night so far at .400.
BYU had a slower start as Weber State took a 13-7 lead in the first half of the set. The Cougars went onto a 4-0 run. The Wildcats maintained their lead and strung together a 6-3 run of their own. Unable to catch up, Weber racked up a win of 25-19, taking the teams into their fifth and final set.
BYU did not hesitate coming into the fifth set. The Cougars swiftly took a 7-2 lead, with two consecutive aces coming from Hifo. The set continued until Koerber recorded the final ace of the night, putting BYU ahead 15-4 and securing the victory.
The Cougars will continue their play in the BYU Invitational the next two days against Dixie State on Friday, Sep. 3 at 7 p.m. MDT. The match will be available on BYUtv.org and the BYUtv app.