Russell Lavaja recorded 20 kills over two nights last week as No. 4 BYU hosted No. 1 Pepperdine. (Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)
The Top Performers of the Week feature highlights the top athletes of each sport currently in play. Check back each week to see which athletes are standing out in Cougar sports.
Jackson Emery - Men's Basketball - Junior - Alpine, Utah
Jackson Emery averaged 16.5 points, 4.0 assists, 4.0 threes, 2.5 rebounds, 1.0 blocks and 3.5 steals to lead BYU to a 2-0 week with wins at Utah (71-51) and TCU (107-77). Emery helped the Cougars win by an average of 25.0 points. Emery also shot .524 from the field, .727 from three and 1.000 from the free throw line. Against Utah Emery posted 11 points, hit 3-of-5 threes, and added three rebounds, three assists and two steals. He helped limit Utah to .269 shooting from the field and .217 shooting from three. Emery opened the game with a three to give BYU a lead it would never lose. He added two more three in the second half to help the Cougars win going away. Against TCU Emery posted 22 points while added five assists, two blocks and five steals. He hit 8-of-10 from the field and 5-of-6 from three. After BYU fell behind 18-4 to the Frogs, Emery scored 10 points, had three assits and four steals in the first half to help the Cougars out-score TCU 53-25 the rest of the half and go into the break with a 57-43 lead. With the Cougars trailing 15-2, Emery assisted two baskets to make it 18-7. Later he had a steal that led to a layup, cutting the lead to five at 26-21. He then had a three that tied the score at 29-all and his steal led to two free throws that gave the Cougars their first lead of the game. Another steal led to a jumper that made it 35-33, giving BYU the lead for good. Emery added a three that gave the Cougars a 53-39 lead. Emery opened the second half with a three and added a three-point play and a three to give BYU a 74-52 lead. He finished the second half with 12 points, two assists, two blocks and a steal.
Russell Lavaja - Men's Volleyball - Sophomore - St. Charles, Ill.
Russell Lavaja recorded 20 kills over two nights last week as No. 4 BYU hosted No. 1 Pepperdine. The middle blocker led the team in its 3-1 win Friday night, hitting .714 with 11 kills and only one error. That attack percentage marks a new career high. He also contributed six blocks. The sophomore had five kills in the third set alone, including one to give the Cougars a late 26-25 lead. Lavaja added nine kills in BYU's 3-0 loss on Saturday.
Romia Nedakovic - Women's Tennis - Sophomore - Icici, Croatia
Romia Nedakovic was 2-0 in the Cougars' only match of the weekend, a 4-1 win over Fresno State. The sophomore partnered with Kristina Doerr to clinch the doubles point with an 8-4 victory at the No. 2 position and then went on to secure the overall match with a straight-set win over Bianca Modoc.
Georgy Batrakov - Men's Tennis - Sophomore - Yaroslavl, Russia
Georgy Batrakov was the only Cougar to go 5-0 this weekend as BYU swept through the opening rounds of the HEB Tournament of Champions and earned a place in the final.. Batrakov and partner Daniel Hwang were the only pair to record a doubles win for the Cougars and are now a team-best 12-1 on the season. Batrakov also won each of his three singles matches at the No. 4 spot. In the first two matches of the tournament, he was first off the court with straight-set wins. Against No. 18 Texas Tech in the finals, the sophomore earned the lone point for BYU fighting through a second-set tiebreak to secure the win.
Stephen Wells - Baseball - Sophomore - Kenmore, Wash.
Stephen Wells’ two-run homer in the ninth inning lifted BYU to an 11-10 victory Saturday over UT Arlington in a seesaw game. Wells, a Washington sophomore outfielder who had not played in a week because of a hamstring injury, belted a shot to rightfield off All-American junior outfielder Michael Choice, who came in as a UTA’s sixth reliever and his first appearance from the mound.
Robbie Fillmore - Men's Golf - Senior - Salt Lake City, Utah
Senior Robbie Fillmore was the top Cougar at the USC Intercollegiate, tying for 22nd place at even par. He was the lone Cougar to post a score under par on the last day of competition as he went -1 with five birdies on the final 18 holes. Fillmore was +2 on the front nine before turning it on over the last nine holes to go -3. His first round saw a score of 72 with three birdies. He went one better in the second round with an even-par 71 featuring four birdies, including two on the final three holes.
Kelsey Vines - Women's Golf - Freshman - Salt Lake City, Utah
Cougar freshman Kelsey Vines led BYU at the Bruin Wave Invitational, finishing tied for 33rd overall at +9 in the Cougars' first tournament since November. Vines was 3-over-par in the final round with two birdies. After going +8 in first-round action on Monday, Vines owned the Robinson Ranch Course on Tuesday with three birdies in her two-under-par round. Vines was one of only a handful of golfers in the field of 95 to post a score under par in round two.