No. 10 BYU completes 3-0 opening weekend with sweep of Washington State
PROVO, Utah — No. 10 BYU women’s volleyball finished the dōTERRA Classic by downing the Washington State Cougars 3-0 (25-18, 25-21, 25-15) on Saturday night at the Smith Fieldhouse.
The BYU Cougars hit .373 for the match, posting a .486 clip in the first set one and hitting .429 in the third for 43 total kills, with only five errors on the night.
Erin Livingston, who was named to the dōTERRA Classic all-tournament team, was one kill short of a career high as she tallied 17 kills on a .366 clip with only two errors in the win.
“Our middles and Whitney are ballers, they holed the blockers for me," Livingston said. "Whitney gives me perfect sets which gives me seams that I was able to hit. We put in a lot of work this summer on our passing and serving which has allowed us to improve and this weekend was a great start to the season.”
The junior outside hitter matched her career high in attempts while adding six digs, two blocks including a solo block late in the third set that sent the Smith Fieldhouse into a frenzy.
Freshman outside hitter Eden Bower made her presence felt in just her third game as a Cougar by setting career highs in kills, attempts and hitting percentage. The freshman from Nampa, Idaho, posted 10 kills on 22 swings, with no errors and a .455 clip, along with a dig and a block.
The dōTERRA Classic Most Valuable Player, Whitney Bower, recorded 35 assists, eight digs, two service aces, a block and a kill in the sweep. She was joined on the all-tournament team by Livingston and Heather Gneiting, who contributed six kills while hitting .545 with two service aces, five digs and a block.
After dropping the first three points of the match, BYU got on the board with two Livingston kills off the top of the block. Then down 7-2, kills from Kate Grimmer, Whitney Llarenas, Livingston and Eden Bower, with a service ace from Grimmer, knotted the set at nine.
Two WSU attack errors and a kill from Gneiting gave BYU its first lead of the match at 13-10, but the crimson Cougars responded with three-straight points to tie it up. A dump by Whitney Bower and a Washington State error prompted the mandatory media timeout.
Out of the timeout, the BYU scored two-straight points to take a 17-13 lead courtesy of a Livingston kill causing Wazzu to take its first timeout of the set. Llarensas registered back-to-back kills to stretch the BYU lead to 19-15 following the timeout.
The Cougars won a marathon point that included improbable digs on both sides of the net to earn their first set point, which they put away on Gneiting’s second kill of the night.
BYU opened set two trading points with back-to-back kills from Livingston. With the score knotted at eight, the Cougars took the lead with another Livingston kill and a roof block from Whitney Bower and Gneiting. Following the block, WSU rattled off two straight to retake the lead 10-9.
Wazzu scored three straight points to open up a 13-11 lead before Livingston carded her fourth kill of the set to end the WSU run.
A roof block from Grimmer and Llarenas helped BYU retake a 14-13 lead, but Washington State scored three-straight, including a service ace coming out of the media timeout to flip the momentum and grab a 16-14 lead.
BYU drew even at 20-20 before a block by Livingston and Llarenas shot energy into the BYU faithful and led to a WSU timeout.
Three-straight WSU errors led to a BYU set point and another Washington State timeout with the score at 24-20. Despite a drop in hitting percentage, 16 digs and eight blocks secured set two for BYU.
After falling behind 4-2, the Cougars strung together five-straight points to take a 7-4 lead, leading to Washington State's first timeout of the set.
Out of the break, BYU extended the lead to 10-8 before Washington State recorded back-to-back kills to square it at 10.
BYU rebounded by scoring nine of the next 11 with kills from Eden Bower, Llarenas, three from Livingston, service aces from Gneiting and Whitney Bower and a solo block from Livingston that made the Fieldhouse erupt in cheers.
A fourth service ace of the set for the Cougars earned the first match point of the night which they put away with an Eden Bower and Gneiting roof block to seal the three-set sweep.
BYU will return to the Smith Fieldhouse next Thursday night for a date with in-state rival Utah State as part of the BYU Nike Invitational at 7 p.m. MDT. The game will be broadcast live on BYUtv and the BYUtv app with tickets available at byutickets.com.
Former BYU women’s volleyball All-American Amy Boswell Usevitch will be inducted into the WCC Hall of Honor on Saturday…