No. 18 Cougars sweep Gaels for fifth-consecutive win
PROVO, Utah — No. 18 BYU women’s volleyball swept Saint Mary’s (25-18, 30-28, 25-19) at the Smith Fieldhouse on Saturday afternoon for its fifth-consecutive win.
The Cougars (19-5, 13-2 WCC) out-hit the Gaels .365 to .231 on the day while totaling 50 kills, 47 assists, 40 digs and six blocks. Livingston led the team with 20 kills on a .378 clip to go along with three digs and one block. Freshman middle blocker Kate Prior led the Cougars with a .667 hitting percentage, recording nine kills.
“I was focusing on high energy and effective swings," Prior said. "I’m so grateful for the opportunity to play at BYU and I love this team. During the game, we focused on putting all of our energy in to every single point. That allowed us to get the job done."
The Gaels took an early 5-3 lead, but two kills by Elyse Stowell, including a line shot, gave the Cougars some momentum to take the lead at 8-7. Stowell would be one of BYU’s offensive leaders in set one, swinging at a .500 clip with three kills and one block.
A kill by Whitney Llarenas took the score to 21-17, one of BYU’s biggest leads in the set, forcing Saint Mary's to take its first timeout. Prior also registered three kills in the first set. A hitting error by the Gaels would end the first set at 25-18. Erin Livingston set the tone for the Cougars offensively with five kills on a .333 clip and three digs in the opening frame.
In the second set, there were no runs by either team above three points, with multiple ties throughout. After the Gaels took a 10-6 lead, the Cougars called a timeout. High swings by Llarenas took the score to 14-12 Saint Mary's, adding two kills to her running total of six.
Tied at 15-all, the Gaels were able to increase a narrow lead to 17-16. Livingston’s eighth kill of the match brought it to 20-19. With the game tied again at 22-22, a kill during the next point by Livingston would ignite the Smith Fieldhouse. During six total set points, the arena was on their feet as BYU pulled off a 30-28 second set win, looking to sweep the match.
Livingston kicked off set three with her 13th kill. Alyssa Montoya subbed in to serve for BYU and recorded an ace, one out giving BYU a 7-5 lead. The Cougars maintained their three-point advantage after a successful challenge, leading 11-8.
A set dump by Abby Taylor took the score to 18-17. Taylor would finish the match with 34 assists, 12 digs and four kills. Three-straight kills by Livingston made the score 21-17. Another kill by Taylor forced Saint Mary's second timeout at 22-17. Llarenas closed the set with her tenth kill, securing a 25-19 set three win and 3-0 sweep.
The Cougars will travel to California next week for their final WCC road trip of the season, with games at Pepperdine and Loyola Marymount. Both matches 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…