Cameron Muh | Posted: 21 Oct 2022 | Updated: 3 Nov 2022

No. 17 Cougars fall to No. 4 San Diego in three sets

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Erin Livingston on the attack against Duke

SAN DIEGO — No. 17 BYU women’s volleyball hung around but were ultimately swept by No. 4 San Diego, 3-0 (20-25, 21-25, 18-25) at Jenny Craig Pavilion on Friday night. 


Erin Livingston and Heather Gneiting each finished with double-digit kills, totaling 11 and 10, respectively. Gneiting also led the team with seven total blocks, including two solo roofs to get her to 50 solo blocks on her career, a mark tied for second in the rally scoring era at BYU. 

Whitney Bower dished out 26 assists and Aria McComber finished with a team and season-high 18 digs. As a team, the Cougars (14-5, 7-2 WCC) hit .182 to the Toreros .288. BYU out-blocked San Diego, 11 to 6.5, but the Toreros’ 49 kills to the Cougars’ 36 were a difference maker in the match.  

Set 1
Gneiting got things started with a quick hitter in the middle before giving the Cougars a 2-1 lead off a slide kill. San Diego got ahead 7-4, but a solo block by Whitney Llarenas and another Gneiting kill made it 8-7, Toreros. 

A 3-0 San Diego run had BYU down by four, leading to its first timeout. Two Elyse Stowell kills, sandwiched by a Gneiting solo stuff were followed up by a Stowell-Gneiting double block and a Gneiting slide kill, tying the opening set at 12. 

The Toreros took four of the next five points, but Gneiting landed a kill off the block and Livingston sent a kill into the center of the court to pull within one, at 16-15. Another 3-0 San Diego run forced the Cougars’ second timeout. 

Kills by Bower, Livingston and Grimmer had BYU trailing 21-18, but the Toreros took four of the next six points to win the set, 25-20.

Set 2
The Cougars got down 6-2 in the early going and took their first timeout. A pair of San Diego errors and kills by Stowell and Livingston then helped BYU tie things up at 7. Llarenas slammed a slide, Grimmer put down a kill and Gneiting got another slide kill as the two teams began trading points. 

Livingston went cross-court to even the set at 11 before a Torero run had the Cougars down 17-14. Bower and Gneiting combined for back-to-back double blocks as BYU fought back, knotting the set at 18-apiece on a Gneiting slide kill.

Calling their second timeout behind 20-18, the Cougars got a Livingston kill off the block and a San Diego error to come within one, at 21-20. The Toreros would win four of the next five points, however, to win the set, 25-21, and take a commanding 2-0 match lead.

Set 3
Trailing 8-3 to begin the third, BYU took its first timeout. The Cougars got kills from Livingston and Sophia Callahan, making it 10-6, USD, after a Torero service error. Trailing 14-7, BYU took its second and final timeout. 

San Diego reeled off six-straight to go ahead 17-7, but the Cougars answered with a 4-0 run of their own, led by kills from Gneiting and Knudsen, and a solo block by Gneiting, the 50th of her career, forcing a Torero timeout.

With two double blocks, a Gneiting ace and kills from Livingston and Callahan, BYU drew within three, at 19-16, but San Diego closed the set on a 6-2 run to take the third set, 25-18, and sweep the match.

The Cougars will return home after three games on the road, hosting Gonzaga and Portland at the Smith Fieldhouse next week. Both matches will be televised on BYUtv and streamed on the BYUtv app.

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