Cameron Muh | Posted: 30 Sep 2022 | Updated: 8 Oct 2022

No. 15 BYU to visit Gonzaga on Saturday

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Alyssa Montoya, Whitney Bower, Kelsey Knudsen and Kate Grimmer after a point against Utah State

PROVO, Utah — Looking to extend its win streak to a season-high six games, No. 15 BYU women's volleyball heads to Spokane for a Saturday afternoon matchup at Gonzaga. 

The Cougars took the opening game of their first West Coast Conference (WCC) road trip on Thursday night, beating Portland in three sets (25-12, 25-20, 26-24) behind a .326 team hitting percentage and a career-high 10 kills from sophomore outside hitter Elyse Stowell, who made also made her first-career start against the Pilots. 

Following BYU's sweep of Portland on Thursday night, the Cougars have won five-straight, including three in a row to kick off their final WCC season. With a record of 114-19 in conference play and 76-12 on the road during head coach Heather Olmstead's tenure, the BYU takes a perfect 14-0 record, including 6-0 in Spokane, into the Charlotte Y Martin Centre as they take on the Bulldogs. 

No. 15 BYU @ Gonzaga

Sweeping the last three matchups with Gonzaga, including both games last season and one during the spring 2020-21 season, the Cougars have surrendered just five sets to the Bulldogs with Olmstead at the helm.

BYU's .282 season hitting percentage is good for No. 19 nationally. The Cougars' stand at No. 35 in assists per set, averaging 12.61, and No. 38 in kills per set at 13.59. All three statistical marks are also current conference leaders. 

Three BYU hitters have surpassed the century mark in kills thus far: outside hitter Erin Livingston (173), middle blocker Heather Gneiting (111) and middle blocker Whitney Llarenas (101). Livingston leads the WCC in attacks per set (10.41) and Llarenas' .376 hitting percentage sits atop the conference as well. 

Continuing to hover around the 10 assist per set mark at 9.95, setter Whitney Bower has totaled 438 assists this season. Her per set average puts her at 62nd in the country. Bower also leads the team in digs with 117. Opposite hitter Kate Grimmer (108) and Kelsey Knudsen (100) also have triple-digit digs on the year. 

Gneiting and Llarenas have been strong at the net, notching 53 and 39 total blocks, respectively. Grimmer has recorded 29 blocks of her own. Gneiting's 19 service aces are a team high. Livingston and libero Aria McComber have contributed 11 each.

Gonzaga (3-11, 0-4 WCC)

  • The Bulldogs played at Pepperdine and against San Diego this week, being swept by the Waves on Tuesday and the Toreros on Thursday
  • Gonzaga also suffered back-to-back four-set losses to Pacific and Saint Mary's to open WCC play last week
  • Five Bulldog hitters have triple-digit kills this season: Kennedy Croft (261), McKenna Marshall (251), Cara Mckenzie (191), Juliette Russell (158) and Zoe Thiros (118)
  • At setter, Gonzaga is led by Keau Kamake'eaina (615 assists) and Brynn Chandler (257 assists)
  • The Bulldogs have been strong from behind the service line this year, paced by Croft's 34 service aces and Viktoriya Ivanova's 27
  • Ivanova (265) and Croft (207) also lead the team in digs, with Mckensize (68 blocks) and Russell (61 blocks) pacing Gonzaga at the net
  • First-year head coach Katie Wilson spent the last seven years on the Notre Dame coaching staff. She is 3-11 (.214) in her opening year with the Bulldogs. 
  • BYU leads the all-time series with Gonzaga, 25-1. The Cougars swept both matchups last season.

The Cougars will return to Provo for matches against Santa Clara and San Francisco next week. Both games will be televised on BYUtv and streamed on the BYUtv app. 

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