No. 4 BYU women’s volleyball dominates WCC to win second straight conference crown
After taking down Pacific and Saint Mary’s last week, the BYU women’s volleyball team secured its second straight West Coast Conference Championship after a dominant 17-0 record in conference play.
With one match remaining in the 2021 regular season, the Cougars have won 82 of the 91 sets they have played this season and have swept 22 of their 28 opponents. BYU is second in the country in hitting percentage (.342) and first in opponent hitting percentage (.115) per ncaa.com.
They have climbed all the way to No. 4 in the AVCA Coaches’ Poll and are ranked one spot behind the team responsible for their only blemish: the University of Pittsburg.
A Season for the Ages
The Cougars began the year ranked No. 15 in the AVCA Coaches poll and stared down a daunting 29-game schedule. In the season’s first week, BYU swept Southern Utah, Long Island and UNLV to win the dōTERRA Classic.
BYU prevailed in their first five-set match of the season against Weber State before sweeping Dixie State and Michigan State to win the BYU Invitational which bumped the Cougars up three spots to No. 12.
The Cougar women took down Bowling Green in their first game at the Panther Invitational before suffering their first loss of the season to No. 4 Pitt who took down BYU in four sets.
Following its first blemish of the season on September 10, BYU swept its next nine opponents, including No. 10 Utah, to move to 16-1 on the year and up the rankings to No. 8 in the country.
The Cougars dropped their first set in over a month to LMU on October 14, before winning three and a row to dispose of the Lions. BYU rode the Pepperdine wave to a 3-1 win in Firestone Fieldhouse before sweeping No. 21 San Diego and their next five opponents.
By Nov. 11, the BYU women were 24-1, had four games remaining and were ranked as the fifth-best women’s volleyball team in all the land.
The Cougars took down LMU at home on Senior Night, went to Stockton to tame the Pacific Tigers and traveled to Moraga to face the Saint Mary’s Gaels with the chance to put away the 31st conference championship in program history and make it six of seven for Heather Olmstead since taking over the program in 2015.
BYU dominated Saint Mary’s offensively, recording 69 kills on a .347 clip with three Cougars recording double-digit kills. Graduate transfer Kenzie Koerber matched her career-high of 19 kills and added 15 digs against the Gaels, earning her second double-double of the season.
Erin Livingston, a sophomore from Corona, California, hit .368 with 15 kills, three digs and two blocks. Middle blocker Heather Gneiting posted the best hitting percentage of the night, laying down 11 kills on a .643 clip. Standout setter Whitney Bower recorded her 12th double-double of the year with 48 assists and 15 digs in the WCC Championship-sealing victory.
The Cougars travel to San Diego to face the second-place Toreros in their final game of the regular season with a chance to finish undefeated in conference play for the first time since 1993.