BYU Women’s Volleyball celebrates after a point in the 2019 season. The team set two world records over the weekend in serving a volleyball into a basketball hoop. (Addie Blacker)
BYU Women’s Volleyball players Tayler Hifo and Erin Livingston both set world records for the longest serve into a basketball hoop on Saturday, Oct. 3 at the Smith Fieldhouse.
Hifo, a junior, set the record for the longest overhand serve at 48 feet. Livingston, a freshman, set the record for the longest underhand serve at 50 feet.
The event was a surprise for the players from the coaches. After seeing the BYU women’s cross country team break a world record in the basketball mile, the women’s volleyball coaches felt inspired to have their players break a record of their own.
“They surprised us after conditioning (at practice),” Livingston said. “They were like, ‘we’re gonna try to set a world record,’ and so we all lined up and tried it. It was super fun.”
No preparation was done prior to the record attempt. The court was measured and marked off with tape, and then the athletes took turns serving the ball into the basketball hoop. The entire roster participated in trying to break the record.
The underhand serve was attempted first. Livingston guessed it took her about eight tries before seeing the ball go through the hoop. The players then decided to try the overhand serve, which proved to be much tougher.
“It was hard for people,” Hifo said. “We were getting close but no one was really getting it. So our coaches were like, ‘this is the last round, everyone gets one more try.’ And I was the last person in the last round.”
With her teammates intensely watching the final attempt, Hifo eyed the world record line on the court, dribbled the ball, and calmly sunk the serve.
“It was awesome,” Hifo said. “I just felt really confident. But I had a lot of pressure. We only had one more ball. After the ball went through the hoop, I was like, ‘no way.’”
The team has been practicing as normal through the global pandemic, with small team activities to keep things fresh.
“We do little fun things as a team, but no other world records for now,” Livingston said with a laugh.
The NCAA recently confirmed that the postponed fall season will now be taking place in the spring. Hifo, Livingston and the rest of the team eagerly await the return of their season, set to start on Jan. 22, 2021.