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BYU Roundup: No. 15 Cougar volleyball prevails at Gonzaga

By Daily Herald - | Oct 2, 2022

Courtesy BYU Photo

The BYU bench reacts to a play during a volleyball match at the Smith Fieldhouse during the 2022 season.

SPOKANE, Wash. — Four Cougar hitters finished with double-digit kills as No. 15 BYU women’s volleyball beat Gonzaga in four sets (23-25, 25-18, 25-22, 25-22) at Charlotte Y. Martin Centre on Saturday afternoon.

Outside hitters Erin Livingston and Elyse Stowell finished with 17 and 14 kills, respectively, with middle blockers Heather Gneiting (13 kills) and Whitney Llarenas (11 kills) also putting down 10+ kills. All four hitters recorded a hitting percentage of .367 or better.

Making back-to-back starts, Stowell set a new career-high in kills for the second time in as many games. The outside hitter also set career-highs in digs (3) and blocks (2). With 18 digs, Livingston set a new career-high as well.

The Cougars (11-3, 4-0 WCC) tallied 65 kills on a .313 clip, holding the Bulldogs to just .160 hitting and 46 kills. 65 kills tied a season-high as BYU also recorded 65 kills at Utah earlier in the year. The Cougars also notched 74 digs and 12 blocks, both marks being good for second-best on the season.

Setter Whitney Bower tied her career-high with 55 assists, and Gneiting tied her season-high with seven total blocks. Liberos Kelsey Knudsen and Aria McComber finished with 17 and 14 digs, respectively.

Three Livingston kills helped the Cougars cut into a big Bulldogs lead to make it 17-16, Gonzaga. Livingston and Llarenas combined for a double block before Grimmer scored on a tip kill, locking up the set at 18-18, and the Bulldogs took a time out.

Llarenas got a solo block out of the timeout, but Gonzaga scored the next three points, going ahead 21-19 before BYU took its second timeout. A solo Gneiting block staved off the Bulldog’s first set point, but Gonzaga’s Kennedy Croft landed a kill to win set one for the Bulldogs, 25-23.

Tips kills by Llarenas and Stowell and a quick kill by Gneiting had the Cougars in front 10-7 in Set 2. On two slides, a solo block and then a double block with Bower, Gneiting extended BYU’s lead to 14-9.

Stowell sent back a solo block before a Grimmer kill and Alyssa Montoya ace put BYU in front, 23-16. A Gonzaga service error and the Cougars’ third ace of the set, placed in the back corner by McComber, gave BYU the 25-18 set win, tying the match a one set apiece.

A Gneiting-Grimmer double block and Knudsen ace had the Cougars doubling up on the Bulldogs 8-4 to start Set 3. A 3-0 Bulldog run had Gonzaga in front 17-15. Stowell and Livingston aided BYU’s rally with two kills each as the Cougars tied the set at 20 and then took a 21-20 lead on back-to-back Bulldog errors, leading to a Gonzaga timeout.

Llarenas scored on a quick-hitter and Livingston put one down as well, making it 23-20 and bringing up the Bulldogs’ second timeout. Grimmer and Llarenas combined for a double block to give BYU set point, which Gonzaga fought off twice before a Livingston kill off the block closed out the third set for the Cougars, 25-22.

Three straight points from the Bulldogs cut into an early Set 4 deficit, but kills by Stowell and Gneiting fueled a 4-0 run that helped the Cougars stretch their advantage to seven at 14-7. Livingston went off the block from the back row, Bower and Gneiting teamed up for a double block and another Gonzaga error had BYU ahead 17-8 as the Bulldogs called a timeout.

Not going down without a fight, however, Gonzaga tied things up at both 20- and 21-all before Grimmer and Stowell both went off the block to give the Cougars a 23-21 lead. A Bulldog error gave BYU match point, which Gonzaga staved off once, but Gneiting put away a slide kill to end it on the next play, giving the Cougars a 25-22 set win and 3-1 match win.

The Cougars will return home to host Santa Clara in Provo on Thursday, Oct. 6 at 7 p.m. MDT. The match will be televised on BYUtv and streamed on the BYUtv app.

Women’s soccer finishes with scoreless draw at Saint Mary’s

MORAGA, Calif. — For the first time in series history, the BYU and Saint Mary’s matchup resulted in a scoreless game on Saturday afternoon.

“I give a lot of credit to Saint Mary’s,” said BYU head coach Jennifer Rockwood. “They came into this game really fired up and locked us down, so we were not able to get the ball moving very much. We just need to find a little bit more fire in this team.”

In the final match between the Cougars and Gaels, the teams battled hard as evident by the 10 fouls apiece. BYU’s first-half possession and pressure carried into the second half, but the Gaels came into the second half strong and confident, making it difficult for the Cougars to penetrate through their backline.

Despite the Cougars having six corner kicks and 13 shots, four of which were on target, they could not capitalize off their offensive attacks to find the back of the net. Brecken Mozingo had the most shots in the 90-minute battle with four, followed by Olivia Wade with three.

Although BYU outshot Saint Mary’s 6-1 through the first 45 minutes of the match, the game remained scoreless heading into halftime. BYU’s offensive pressure saw three corner kicks to Saint Mary’s’ zero. The aggressiveness of this WCC matchup was evident in the five fouls called on the Cougars and eight on the Gaels in the first half.

As the teams approached the end of regulation, the Cougars were pressing hard as they desperately attempted to put the ball in the back of the net. In the last few minutes of the game, the Gaels defensive line held firm as the Cougars were called for back-to-back offsides.

BYU’s final attempt on goal came in the 89th minute as Folino took a shot inside the box that slid through the legs of the Saint Mary’s keeper, but was cleared out by the Gaels defense for a 0-0 draw.

The Cougars next take the field Wednesday, Oct. 5 as they host WCC foe San Francisco on South Field at 7 p.m. MDT. The game will be televised on BYUm streamed on the BYUtv app and carried live on the BYU Sports Network — BYURadio.org/BYU Radio app/BYU Radio 107.9 FM.


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