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The Sett, NCAA Round 3: BYU


Mark Kuhlmann/NCAA Photos

“Last” Year In Cougar Volleyball

Utah! Doin’ volleyball things! In 2019, BYU was one of three seeded teams that didn’t make it to the Sweet Sixteen due to a sweep from arch-rival Utah, from Utah. Any seeded team losing is a bit of an upset, but especially for a very consistent BYU program that had seven straight Sweet Sixteens or better, including a 1-1 record in Final Four matches.

2021 Cougar Volleyball

BYU has been the class of the West Coast Conference in volleyball for a while, and this year was no exception. Aside from a sweep at Pepperdine, the Cougars handled business all year, only going to five sets once in their 17-1 season. Those sweeps included their first tournament game against UCLA, where Mac May attacked for a 17-8-43 but nobody else landed kills.

Front Court

BYU has a solid, well-balanced attack. OH Erin Anderson, OH Kate Grimmer, MB Leilani Dodson, MB Kennedy Eshenberg, and OH Taylen Ballard-Nixon all hit above .250 on more than 250 attacks, with Ballard-Nixon being the main option with 604 attacks. Now, did the three non-freshman have their best hitting percentages due to not playing teams like Texas or Stanford in the non-conference and only eating up a WCC they dominate? Maybe! They do focus on the attack - their blocking is fine at 2.5 a set, about the same as last year.

Back Court

Libero Madi Allen is the main line of defense in the back, with setter Whitney Bower second. She is one of seven sisters, and plays along one this year, libero Morgan Bower. I sincerely hope for an all-Bower Cougar lineup one day.

Game Info

Of note, due to BYU rules the Badgers play Saturday. All other matches are Sunday, with the Elite 8 schedule for Monday. Craft your narratives in advance.

Elsewhere In The Conference

All six Big Ten teams swept their opponents on Thursday. Sunday’s action starts off at noon Central with No. 3 Minnesota taking on unseeded Pitt, who upset No. 14 Utah and I can not quit this state can I. Nebraska takes on Baylor at 1:30 p.m. CT followed by Penn State - Texas at 4 p.m.. No. 9 Ohio State - No. 8 Florida is at 6:30 p.m., with No. 7 Purdue against No. 10 Oregon at 7:30 p.m.