BYU women's volleyball Taylen Ballard-Nixon

BYU's Taylen Ballard-Nixon (1) celebrates a point in a women's college volleyball match against Loyola Marymount at the Smith Fieldhouse in Provo on Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2021.

This just in: The BYU women’s volleyball team is still really good at home.

The No. 12 Cougars may be playing in front of just a hundred or so family members this year because of the pandemic but are still virtually unbeatable at home. BYU, which has won 90% of its home matches under Heather Olmstead, is 6-0 in the Smith Fieldhouse in 2021 after Wednesday’s 3-0 (25-17, 27-25, 25-23) victory against Loyola Marymount.

After winning the first set fairly comfortably, the Cougars had to fight their way back in both the second and third sets against a young but talented Lions squad. In the second set, BYU staved off a pair of set points before sophomore setter Whitney Bower served back-to-back aces for the win.

In Set 3, the Cougars trailed 20-17 as LMU looked to force a fourth set. But BYU went on a 5-0 run to jump back in front. The Lions committed a net violation and the Cougars reached match point at 24-23. Kate Grimmer blasted a kill for the winner and the match.

“I think we played well,” BYU coach Heather Olmstead said. “The energy just comes from within and we try to stay in the present. We conserve the energy in our time outs and raise our energy when we need it. I was really proud of my team especially in the third set when we were down 20-17 and kind of had our backs against the wall.”

Taylen Ballard-Nixon led BYU (7-0) with 16 kills and hit .424. Grimmer had her second consecutive hot hitting night with 10 kills and a .562 hitting percentage. Bower finished with 36 assists as the Cougars hit .371 for the match. Serving was also key for BYU with 11 service aces, four for designated server Taylor Hifo.

“I have good cues, I play for my teammates and I play to win,” Hifo said. “I wear my jacket to stay warm on the bench so when the team needs me I’m ready. I think our team is good at problem solving. Our coaches help by having us focus on the next play and that really helps us.”

Rose Booth led LMU (3-4) with 10 kills. The Cougars held star freshman Kari Geissberger to just seven kills and a hitting percentage of .200.

BYU will make its first road trip of the season next week when it travels to Pepperdine for a pair of matches.

Follow Darnell Dickson on Twitter @darnellwrites or e-mail him at ddickson@heraldextra.com.

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