Cameron Muh | Posted: 28 Oct 2022 | Updated: 10 Nov 2022

No. 17 BYU welcomes Portland to Provo

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No. 17 BYU women's volleyball celebrates a point against Gonzaga on October 27, 2022

PROVO, Utah — Coming off a sweep of Gonzaga, No. 17 BYU women’s volleyball prepares to play Portland as its home stand continues at the Smith Fieldhouse on Saturday afternoon.

Outside hitter Erin Livingston led the Cougars with a career-high 22 kills on a .514 clip as BYU got back in the win column behind its third-best hitting percentage of the season, at .416.

Setter Abby Taylor made her first-career start at BYU against the Zags, dishing out 33 assists and also recording three digs, two kills and a service ace.

No. 17 BYU vs. Portland

Winners of 26-consecutive conference matches at home, the Cougars are 11-1 in the Smith Fieldhouse this year, and 111-6 in Provo with BYU head coach Heather Olmstead at the helm.

Olmstead’s teams have lost to Portland just once during her tenure, posting a 14-1 record and dropping just four sets to the Pilots since 2014.  

Improving their season hitting percentage to .302 on Thursday night, the Cougars jumped up to fourth nationally in the category. They're also No. 29 in assists per set, at 12.88, and No. 31 in in kills per set, at 13.87. All three statistical marks remain WCC-leaders. 

Livingston (280 kills), middle blocker Heather Gneiting (168 kills) and middle blocker Whitney Llarenas (154 kills) lead the team offensively. Llarenas' season hitting percentage is good for fourth nationwide, at .431. Livingston's 4.12 kills per set ranks No. 31 in the country.

Gneiting paces BYU at the net with 84 total blocks on the year. Her 1.24 blocks per set average sits at 49th nationally. Llarenas has 70 total blocks of her own.

Portland (9-13, 2-9 WCC)

  • The Pilots are on a five-game losing streak in conference, with their last win coming back in the second week of October against Gonzaga
  • Portland also has a five-set win over Pacific, beating the Tigers during the opening weekend of WCC play
  • The Pilots are led offensively by Jayde Harris (286 kills) and Noelani Helm (538 assists). Harris also has a team-high 27 service aces. 
  • Defensively, Grace Zilbert (270 digs) and Helm (226 digs) pace Portland, while Una Rajkovic and Emma Swett have sent back 58 and 57 total blocks, respectively
  • Three seasons in as head coach of the Pilots, Megan Burton has posted a 16-47 record
  • BYU leads the all-time series with Portland, 22-1. The Cougars swept both matchups last season and the first match between the two teams in Portland earlier this year.

The Cougars will head to the Bay Area next week for matches at San Francisco and Santa Clara. Both matches will be streamed on the WCC Network.  

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