Cameron Muh | Posted: 26 Oct 2022 | Updated: 4 Nov 2022

No. 17 BYU hosts Gonzaga on Thursday

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Aria McComber, Kelsey Knudsen and Kate Grimmer await the serve against USF

PROVO, Utah — After two weeks away, No. 17 BYU women’s volleyball returns to the Smith Fieldhouse this week, hosting Gonzaga in a WCC matchup on Thursday night.

The Cougars (14-5, 7-2 WCC) remained at No. 17 in this week's American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) poll following their 3-0 loss at No. 4 San Diego last week. Dating back to the final poll of the 2013 season, BYU have been ranked in the top-17 for 136-consecutive polls.

No. 17 BYU vs. Gonzaga

Looking to bounce back from two-straight losses in conference play, the Cougars have posted a 10-1 record at home this season, and are also winners of 25-consecutive WCC matches in the Smith Fieldhouse. BYU head coach Heather Olmstead is 110-6 in Provo during her tenure. 

The Cougars and Zags met earlier this season in Spokane, with BYU winning in four sets. Olmstead-led teams have never lost to Gonzaga, with an 8-0 record in Provo and 7-0 record at the Charlotte Y. Martin Centre.  

Hitting .298 on the season, the Cougars rank fifth nationally in team hitting percentage. They're also No. 29 in assists per set, at 12.82, and No. 33 in in kills per set, at 13.8. All three statistical marks continue to lead WCC. 

Outside hitter Erin Livingston (258 kills), middle blocker Heather Gneiting (163 kills) and middle blocker Whitney Llarenas (148 kills) lead the team offensively. Llarenas' season hitting percentage is good for fifth nationwide, at .425. Livingston 3.97 kills per set ranks No. 48 in the country.

Gneiting paces BYU at the net with 81 total blocks on the year. With two solo blocks at San Diego last week, the Pleasant Grove, Utah native reached 50 career solo blocks, tied for second at BYU in the rally scoring era.

Gonzaga (5-16, 1-9 WCC)

  • The Zags are fresh off a five-set upset of then-No. 22 Pepperdine, snapping a four-game losing streak
  • Since the two team's last matchup, Gonzaga also swept Chicago State in a mid-week non-conference match
  • Zoe Thiros (235 kills) and Kennedy Croft (162 kills) lead the Bulldogs offensively, with Keau Kamake'eaina dishing out 601 assists on the year
  • Thiros and Croft have recored 29 and 22 service aces, respectively, while Alisa Kim (268 digs) and Kamake'eaina (177) lead the team in digs.
  • Kelsie White (68 blocks) and Grace Ehler (38 blocks) highlight the Zags' efforts at the net
  • Head coach Katie Wilson is in her first season with the Bulldogs, posting a 5-16 record
  • BYU leads the all-time series with Gonzaga, 26-1

Following their matchup with the Zags, the Cougars will welcome Portland to town, hosting the Pilots at the Smith Fieldhouse. The match will be televised on BYUtv and streamed on the BYUtv app. 

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