No. 12 Cougars suffer five-set loss at Tigers
Photo credit: Pacific Athletics
STOCKTON, Calif. — No. 12 BYU women’s volleyball suffered its first loss in conference play, dropping a five-setter to Pacific (21-25, 25-17, 22-25, 25-10, 10-15) at the Alex G. Spanos Center on Saturday afternoon.
The Cougars hit .288 to the Tigers’ .205, but recorded 51 kills to Pacific’s 57. As a team, BYU tallied eight total blocks and eight service aces. Outside hitter Erin Livingston registered 18 kills on a .486 clip, with fellow outside hitter Elyse Stowell adding 11 kills of her own.
Setter Whitney Bower tallied 39 assists and notched 11 digs. Libero Aria McComber led the team with 12 digs, and middle blocker Heather Gneiting finished with a team-high five total blocks.
The two teams traded points to begin the match, with two ties in the early going. A handful of BYU errors had the Cougars trailing 11-4 before a quick kill by Heather Gneiting ended a 5-0 Pacific run.
Kills from Stowell, Livingston and Gneiting drew BYU closer but two-straight kills from the Tigers’ Biama Kabengele made it 17-10, Pacific, forcing BYU’s second timeout.
The Cougars drew within three twice down the stretch, forcing Tiger timeouts both times, but Pacific pulled away to take the first set, 25-21.
Wasting no time in the second set, BYU pulled out to a 5-1 lead early, paced by a Bower kill and ace. Two Kelsey Knudsen aces then gave the Cougars a 12-7 advantage.
Beginning to pull away, Gneiting and Livingston both put down kills before a Tiger error made it 15-8, bringing up a Pacific timeout. A Livingston ace then put BYU ahead 20-12.
The Tigers were able to hang around, but a Whitney Llarenas slide kill put them away, finishing off the set, 25-17, and tying the match at 1-1.
Tied 4-4, Pacific went on a 7-0 run to take an 11-4 lead. Kills by Llarenas and Stowell helped the Cougars stay in it, but the Tigers remained on the attack, holding a 19-11 lead.
Aided by three Pacific errors, BYU went on a 4-0 run, drawing with five at 21-16. Stowell landed a kill off the block to punctuate a 3-0 Cougar run that made it 22-19, Pacific, forcing a Tiger timeout.
BYU rallied to make it 24-22 but a cross-court kill by the Tigers finished off the set, 25-22.
Livingston began the fourth with three-straight kills. Llarenas, Stowell and Kate Prior put down kills of their own, putting the Cougars ahead 8-3 and forcing a Pacific timeout.
Two separate 3-0 BYU runs made it 19-7, BYU. Closing the set on a 5-1 run, three Tiger errors, a Stowell kill and Knudsen ace helped the Cougars force a fifth and final set, 25-10.
BYU got down 6-3 in the final frame and called a timeout. After Llarenas landed a kill and Pacific sent an attack long, the Cougars had made it 6-5, Tigers. Consecutive points by Pacific gave the Tigers an 8-5 lead as the two teams swapped sides.
Back-to-back Pacific points, stretching the run to four-straight, had BYU down 10-6, bringing up a timeout. The Cougars rallied, making it 13-10, but the Tigers scored the next two points to win the set and the match, 15-10.
The Cougars have a long week prior to their lone game next week at San Diego on Friday, Oct. 21 at 7 p.m. PDT. The match will be streamed on the WCC Network.
Former BYU women’s volleyball All-American Amy Boswell Usevitch will be inducted into the WCC Hall of Honor on Saturday…