BYU sweeps Dixie State in game No. 2 of the BYU Invitational
PROVO, Utah – No. 13 BYU women's volleyball continued its winning streak to start the 2021 season with a victory over Dixie State in the Cougars' second game of the BYU Invitational Friday night in the Smith Fieldhouse.
The victory puts BYU at 5-0 this season.
Four of the Cougars' five appearances this season have concluded with sweeps, including Friday's 3-0 win (25-8, 25-16, 25-20).
The Cougars held the Trailblazers to a .043 hitting percentage. BYU hit .319 and had 44 kills, 44 digs, seven aces and six blocks. Junior middle blocker Heather Gneiting contributed nine kills, hitting .692., nearly matching her season average of .698.
“I’m happy our team could go and execute the game plan of hitting high and hard," Gneiting said. “We just want to play our positions and do our jobs the best we can for each other. I think that’s our biggest motivation.”
BYU junior setter Whitney Bower had a double-double, with 26 assists and 14 digs in the three sets. BYU senior outside hitter Taylen Ballard-Nixon added 10 kills, followed by opposite hitter Kenzie Koerber with eight. Senior middle blocker Kennedy Eschenberg notching five of BYU's six blocks for the night.
The Cougars started the match out strong, going on an 8-2 run with no sign of letting up. Dixie State scrambled to catch up, however, a -.038 hitting percentage by the Trailblazers could not compete with .433 by the Cougars. BYU swiftly took the first set (25-8) with an ace from Bower.
BYU opened the second set with a pancake save from Bower, contributing to the first point. Unlike the previous set, the Trailblazers racked up points early on, making it a challenge for the Cougars to widen the gap. However, Gneiting put up back-to-back aces, followed by a block from Eschenberg and senior setter Tayler Hifo. The Cougars would with the set 25-16.
The Trailblazers put up a fight in the final set, consistently staying within four points of the Cougars. The two teams rallied back-and-forth, eventually sitting at 16-16. Thanks to three kills by junior opposite hitter Kate Grimmer, BYU won the hard-fought set (25-20) to close out the match.
The Cougars will finish their play in the BYU Invitational against Michigan State on Saturday, Sep. 4 at 7 p.m. MDT in the Smith Fieldhouse. The match will be available on BYUtv.org and the BYUtv app.