No. 10 Cougars drop first road match at No. 5 Yellow Jackets
Photo credit: Brady McBride/Georgia Tech Athletics
ATLANTA — No. 10 BYU women’s volleyball fell to No. 5 Georgia Tech in three sets (20-25, 21-25, 14-25) at O’Keefe Gymnasium in its first game of the Georgia Tech Classic on Thursday.
The Cougars recorded 32 kills on the night, but hit just .191 to the Yellow Jackets’ 42 kills on a .292 clip. BYU tallied 30 digs, five blocks and three service aces, but also had nine service errors.
Junior outside hitter Erin Livingston led the Cougars with 10 kills and senior setter Whitney Bower finished with 23 assists. Senior opposite hitter Kate Grimmer and senior libero Aria McComber both added six digs each, with Heather Gneiting contributing three blocks.
Down 1-0 to start the match, kills by Gneiting and Livingston helped BYU open up a 4-1 lead. A kill by Livingston and a block by both Whitney Llarenas and Livingston then put the Cougars up 7-3.
Trading points, two Llarenas kills and a Kelsey Knudsen ace made it 10-6, BYU, but a 9-2 Georgia Tech run had the Yellow Jackets ahead by three at the media timeout, 15-12.
Coming out of the timeout, both Gneiting and Llarenas landed kills off of slide attacks. Livingston put down a kill of her own before BYU tied it up at 17-all after two Georgia Tech errors. The Yellow Jackets then took a two-point lead on a service error and overpass kill, forcing a Cougar timeout.
Two more Georgia Tech points had BYU down 21-17, leading to a second BYU timeout. Kills by Llarenas, Gneiting and Eden Bower made it 24-20, but the Yellow Jackets finished the first with a kill of the block, 25-20.
Livingston opened up the second set with two-straight kills. Whitney Bower and Gneiting teamed up for a double block and had the Cougars up 3-0 early. Another Livingston kill and Gneiting ace then made it 5-2.
Livingston landed a cross-court kill, her seventh of the match, and a Georgia Tech error put BYU up 8-5. Two Eden Bower kills and a couple Yellow Jacket errors gave the Cougars a 12-9, before three-straight Tech points tied the match at 12.
Two Yellow Jacket service errors sandwiched by a Whitney Bower dump kill had BYU up 15-14 at the media timeout. A 4-0 Georgia Tech run out of the media timeout forced a Cougar timeout, and the Yellow Jackets got a service ace before a service error ended their 5-0 run.
Livingston served an ace of her own, making it 20-17, Tech, causing a Yellow Jacket timeout. The two teams traded errors before a Llarenas kill cut the GT lead to 21-19.
Back-to-back kills by Georgia Tech’s Julia Bergmann gave the Yellow Jackets set point, which a Gneiting kill slowed, but Bergmann closed out the set, 25-21 on the ensuing play with another kill.
Georgia Tech opened up the third set with five-consecutive points, including three on service aces, to force a BYU timeout, notching another kill coming out of it before a Grimmer kill stopped the run to make it 6-1.
It was 9-4 after two Gneiting kills, but a 3-0 Yellow Jacket run had BYU behind eight, at 12-4, forcing a timeout. Three BYU errors and two Georgia Tech kills coming out of the timeout stretched the Yellow Jacket lead to 13 before a Gneiting kill ended the 8-0 run.
A dump kill by Whitney Bower, two kills by Livingston and a Tech error had the Cougars on a 4-0 run, forcing a Yellow Jacket timeout at 19-9.
Llarenas and Kate Prior put down a block out of the timeout to make it 19-10, but five Tech points were sandwiched by a Livingston kill, bringing up match point at 24-11.
A Georgia Tech service error and kills by Gneiting and Sophia Callahan drew the Cougars within 10, but a service error ended the match at 25-14.
The Cougars will be back at O’Keefe Gymnasium on Friday, Sept. 8 to face No. 8 Ohio State in their second and final Georgia Tech Classic match at 7 p.m. EDT. The match will not be streamed, but a radio call and live stats will be available.
Former BYU women’s volleyball All-American Amy Boswell Usevitch will be inducted into the WCC Hall of Honor on Saturday…