BYU Women’s Volleyball Advances To Sweet 16 With Sweep Of UCLA

Apr 15, 2021, 10:41 PM | Updated: 10:47 pm
BYU Women's Volleyball - NCAA Tournament...
BYU Women's Volleyball celebrates during the NCAA Tournament Second Round match against UCLA. (BYU Photo)
(BYU Photo)

PROVO, Utah – The No. 16 seed BYU Women’s Volleyball was put to the test by UCLA, but the Cougars ultimately prevailed with a sweep. BYU took down UCLA (26-24, 31-29, 25-17).

The win was BYU’s first against UCLA in the rally era (since 2001). Taylen Ballard-Nixon led BYU with 13 kills. Whitney Bower had 38 assists in the match.

Only members of the team and invited guests by the players were allowed in attendance for the match in Omaha, Nebraska. The capacity for matches is expected to increase as the NCAA Tournament progresses.

Here’s a recap of BYU’s sweep over the Bruins.

Set 1: BYU Women’s Volleyball 26, UCLA 24

BYU was down 14-9 before going on a 13-6 run to put themselves two points away from the set. UCLA called a timeout and then reeled off a quick 4-0 run of their own to have a set point. BYU senior Taylen Ballard-Nixon came up clutch with a kill off an assist from Whitney Bower. Abbey Dayton put BYU back in front with an ace and the Cougars closed out the set with another kill from Ballard-Nixon.

Set 2: BYU 31, UCLA 29

What an impressive display of high-level volleyball in set two. UCLA had seven set points, but couldn’t close the deal. BYU kept battling in a set that they found themselves down 20-14 at one point. BYU had a 23.4% hit percentage in set two. Whitney Bower has been all over the place with 26 assists through the first two sets of the match.

Kennedy Eschenberg had a clutch kill to tie the set at 24-24. From there the two teams went back and forth, putting together one of the best sets in this year’s NCAA Women’s Volleyball tournament.

Set 3: BYU 25, UCLA 17

The experience from BYU overmatched the youth of UCLA in set 3. BYU was on fire in set 3 with a 32.4% hit percentage and 41.2% kill percentage. Losing out on set two was too big of a hole for UCLA to climb out of.

BYU Women’s Volleyball advances to the Sweet 16

BYU advances to its eighth Sweet 16 in the last nine NCAA Tournaments. The Cougars will now the tall task of taking on the number one overall seed in the tournament and Big Ten Champion, Wisconsin Badgers on Saturday in Omaha, Nebraska.

BYU and Wisconsin will be played one day earlier than the other regional semifinals, which take place on Sunday, April 18th. The NCAA Tournament adjusted the schedule for BYU and its No Sunday policy.

Mitch Harper is a BYU Insider for and host of the Cougar Tracks Podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and Cougar Sports Saturday (Saturday from 12-3 pm) on KSL Newsradio. Follow him on Twitter: @Mitch_Harper.

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