No. 18 BYU travels to San Francisco to face Dons
PROVO, Utah — After two-straight sweeps at home, No. 18 BYU women’s volleyball heads to the Bay Area for a Thursday night matchup with San Francisco.
Despite the pair of wins, the Cougars (16-5, 9-2 WCC) dropped a spot to No. 18 in this week's American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) poll, marking the first time in the Heather Olmstead era that BYU has been ranked outside the top-17.
Dating back to week seven of the 2013 season, the Cougars have been ranked in the top-25 for 146-consecutive polls.
Outside hitter Erin Livingston led BYU to sweeps over Gonzaga and Portland at the Smith Fieldhouse last week, recording a career-high 22 kills against the Zags on Thursday night, and a game-high 14 kills in Saturday afternoon's matchup with the Pilots.
Filling in for Whitney Bower, setter Abby Taylor dished out 33 assists in her first start against Gonzaga, and tallied seven service aces in the Portland match, a mark tied for second in a single game in the rally scoring era at BYU.
No. 18 BYU @ San Francisco
Going 4-3 on the road this season, Olmstead is 78-14 (.848) away from Provo all-time, with a 120-10 (.923) record in West Coast Conference (WCC) play. Olmstead-led teams have a perfect 15-0 record against San Francisco, including 8-0 at War Memorial Gym.
Sweeping both matchups last season and the first between the two teams earlier this year, BYU has won 10 of the last 11 matchups via 3-0 sweeps. Since 2015, BYU has dropped just three sets to the Dons.
With a .302 season hitting percentage, the Cougars remained at fourth nationally in team hitting percentage. They also rank No. 32 in assists per set, at 12.8, and No. 34 in kills per set, at 13.79. BYU's hitting percentage and kills per set average lead the WCC.
Middle blocker Whitney Llarenas' .421 season clip ranks 10th nationally and first in conference. Livingston sits at No. 30 in kills per set (4.14) and No. 34 in points per set (4.64), marks good for second in the WCC. Fellow middle blocker Heather Gneiting, who leads the team in total blocks, with 87, ranks No. 56 in the country with a 1.23 block per set average.
San Francisco (13-10, 6-6 WCC)
- Since the Cougars and Dons last met, San Francisco is on a six-game win streak in conference, most recently picking up wins at LMU and Pepperdine last week
- Claira Crijns (266 kills), Maria Petkova (228) and Shyia Richardson (227) lead the Dons in kills, with Aylen Ayub dishing out a team-high 522 assists
- Abby Wadas pace San Francisco with 332 digs, while Crijins has recorded 33 service aces on the year
- Orsula Staka (91 total blocks) and Crijins (61 total blocks) highlight the Dons' efforts at the net
- In his second season with San Francisco, Diogo Silva is 13-35
- BYU leads the all-time series with San Francisco, 25-0. The Cougars are 12-0 against the Dons in the Bay Area.
After taking on San Francisco, the Cougars will head to Santa Clara for a Saturday afternoon matchup with the Broncos. 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…