BYU Athletics Blog

Cougars make a wish come true

Aug 22, 2013 - Posted by knielsen at 1:03 pm | Permalink

By Justin Green

The BYU women’s soccer team did its part to help fulfill the wishes of Amber Rasmussen, a 13-year-old from Draper, Utah, who is recovering from a liver transplant. Amber and her family visited the team at the fall sports Cougar Kick-off on Wednesday night.

“We feel honored to be a part of this for Amber,” head women’s soccer coach Jennifer Rockwood said.  “We're excited that she's making a full recovery and that we get to be a part of that.”

As Amber arrived, she was greeted by the entire team and was presented a signed ball, a team jersey, season passes for her and her family as well as a bag full of team gear. She spent much of her time at the Cougar Kick-off talking to Coach Rockwood and mingling with the players.

“They really showered her with gifts and treated her really well,” said John Rasmussen, Amber’s dad. “I couldn’t believe it.”

Though she has never been to a game, Amber has watched the team play on television and is an avid fan. Amber also loves to play soccer.

“My sister went to BYU so I have been here before,” Amber said. “I love the environment and campus and everything. I just started watching the team and really loved them.”

The BYU players loved getting to know Amber and hear her story. Senior forward Niki Fernandes was among many of the players who took the opportunity to talk to Amber and her parents.

“It’s been an amazing experience,” Fernandes said. “Just being able to spend time with her and even just make her day, it’s been awesome. It’s been amazing just to make her smile.”

During the event the Rasmussen family joined BYU marketing representative Weston Wride on stage to receive another special announcement. Amber and her family received a cruise to the Bahamas from the Make-A-Wish foundation. The Make-A-Wish foundation has granted 140 wishes in Utah so far this year after granting 161 last year.

“I’m just way excited,” Amber said. “I’m shocked.”

Amber was born with a liver disease that she has lived with for the last 13 years. She spent five months on the waiting list for a donor. The transplant went smoothly and her recovery has been perfect thus far.

“It was scary as a family to go through, but she was only in the hospital for a week, the quickest they had ever had,” said Ann Rasmussen, Amber’s mom. “They attributed it to soccer. We just feel really lucky and so blessed.”

The Cougars women’s soccer team open the 2013 campaign at home this Friday night against Cal State Fullerton at 7 p.m., a game that Amber and her family plan on attending.

BYU voted 12th in Soccer America Preseason poll

Aug 21, 2013 - Posted by knielsen at 10:55 am | Updated: August 21, 2013 11:49 am | Permalink

The BYU women's soccer team was voted 12th in the nation in the Soccer America Women's Preseason Poll. The Cougars have been ranked as high as 6th this preseason in four polls. The Cougars were voted sixth in the NSCAA poll, ninth in the TopDrawerSoccer.com poll and 20th in the Bennett Rankings. For the Soccer America poll, click here.

AllWhiteKit.com projected BYU as the third-place finisher in the West Coast Conference. Portland was chosen as the conference champion and Santa Clara was a close second. For the projections for the WCC and several other conferences, click here.

2013 football fireside schedule

Aug 20, 2013 - Posted by Whitney Weekes at 2:50 pm | Updated: October 1, 2013 9:49 am | Permalink

BYU head coach Bronco Mendenhall and members of the BYU football team will participate in an hour-long devotional prior to each out-of-state road game as well as some home games during the 2013 season. 

Referred to as "firesides," the devotionals will be conducted the evening prior to road games as well as the home game against Georgia Tech. The team will also conduct a special fireside at the State Prison prior to the Utah game.

With both players and coaches involved, speakers at the firesides talk about the meaning of discipleship. Special musical numbers are performed by players as well. Messages will focus on how we should seek to follow the Savior's example in all aspects of our life, and as we do so, we can come to a clear understanding of our purpose here on earth.

"The firesides have been a way for us to make a very clear statement of what our priorities are, or should be," Mendenhall says. "Football is simply the vehicle we use to help others come to a knowledge of what really brings joy and happiness to our lives. These firesides are a way for all of us to help consider our priorities through understanding the purpose of life."

The BYU football team has been holding regular firesides throughout the football season since the Cougars' trip to New Mexico during the 2005 season.

Following is a list of fireside dates and the locations for each fireside during the 2013 season. All firesides are scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. local time. 

2013 Fireside Schedule

Friday, Aug. 30 (Virginia)
Charlottesville Ward Meetinghouse (Airport Building)
1275 Timberwood Boulevard
Charlottesville, VA 22911

Friday, Oct. 11 (Georgia Tech)
Provo Utah Wasatch (Tongan) Stake Center
1625 South Slate Canyon Drive
Provo, UT 84601

Friday, Oct. 18 (Houston)
Houston Texas Stake Center
1101 Bering Drive
Houston, TX 77057

Friday, Nov. 8 (Wisconsin)
Madison Wisconsin Stake Center
701 Bear Claw Way
Madison, WI 53717

Friday, Nov. 22 (Notre Dame)
South Bend Indiana Stake Center
930 Park Place
Mishawaka, IN 46545

Friday, Nov. 29 (Nevada)
Reno Nevada Stake Center
1095 Golconda Drive
Reno, NV 89509

Jepson Smith participates in Google+ Hangout

Aug 20, 2013 - Posted by knielsen at 1:26 pm | Updated: August 20, 2013 2:55 pm | Permalink

BYU's senior forward/midfielder Colette Jepson Smith was part of a West Coast Conference women's soccer Google+ Hangout on Tuesday previewing the season. Watch it below.

Sander leads Team USA to win over Dominican Republic

Aug 20, 2013 - Posted by Whitney Weekes at 11:33 am | Permalink

Senior BYU sensation Taylor Sander led the United States as it held off the Dominican Republic to win its first pool play match of the men's Pan American Cup, 26-24, 25-14, 22-25, 21-25, 15-7 on Monday in Mexico City.

Sander, an outside hitter from Huntington Beach, Calif., led the United States' effort with 19 points on 15 kills, three blocks and one ace. Middle blocker Jacek Ratajczak (Warsaw, Poland) added 14 points on eight kills, three blocks and a match-high three aces.

After the United States won the first two sets, the Dominican Republic came back to win the next two thanks to Elvis Contreras, who led all scorers with 22 points.
 
“It was a good match for both teams,” U.S. head coach, and former BYU coach, Shawn Patchell said. “We felt nervous in the beginning, had some trouble in the third and fourth sets. We could not stop [Jose Miguel] Caceres, but pulled out and improved our service. I am happy for this win.”

Former Cougar Russ Lavaja scored one point on one kill as a substitue at middle blocker.

The United States is 1-0 in Pool B and will play Trinidad & Tobago on Tuesday and host Mexico on Wednesday.

For the full release, visit teamusa.org.

Former BYU volleyball player competes internationally

Aug 20, 2013 - Posted by Royce Hinton at 9:57 am | Updated: August 20, 2013 10:18 am | Permalink

Former BYU women’s volleyball player Nicole Warner is in France to compete in a national league called Ligue Nationale de Volley for eight months. Warner will compete on the Quimper Elite 29 squad with teammates from France, Spain, Croatia, Slovenia, Africa and other countries.

Practice began on Friday, with the teams’ first match taking place on Sep. 27.

To find out more about the league, visit their official website, and read Warner's blog as she documents her experience.

Warner played middle blocker at BYU from 2008-2012 and helped the Cougars advance to the region semifinals in the NCAA tournament last year.

BYU football celebrates at Thursday's Hero reunion

Aug 19, 2013 - Posted by Rachel Hawks at 3:19 pm | Updated: August 19, 2013 4:07 pm | Permalink

BYU football welcomed Thursday’s Heroes to campus for food and entertainment at the Smith Fieldhouse Saturday. Athletes and coaches spent time talking, taking pictures and signing autographs with the families.

Among the Thursday’s Heroes who attended was Drae Endicott, who was first named a Thursday’s Hero in 2009.

“This has just been a really fun thing for him,” said his mother, Beverly Endicott. “We love BYU and we love that he can be a part of this. He loves talking to players and having access to them. It makes his day.”

Every week during the football season, an individual or a family with special needs is identified and invited to attend a team practice. At the conclusion of the practice, “Thursday’s Hero” is introduced to Bronco Mendenhall and recognized by the team members in an informal ceremony.

“I think it’s such a great program,” senior linebacker Tyler Beck said. “It helps keep us grounded, and it is able to help give other people hope as well as give us hope that we can overcome anything.”

2013 Hero Ride benefits Thursday's Heroes program

Aug 19, 2013 - Posted by Aaron Sorenson at 3:10 pm | Updated: August 19, 2013 3:13 pm | Permalink

The 2013 Hero Ride, organized by The Holly & Bronco Mendenhall Foundation, to benefit the BYU Football Team’s Thursday’s Heroes Program will begin at LaVell Edwards Stadium at 8 a.m. on Saturday, Aug. 31, 2013.

Last year’s inaugural Hero Ride took cyclists on a journey from Provo, Utah to Boise, Idaho; a distance of over 450 miles.  With increased interest from the community, The Holly & Bronco Mendenhall Foundation decided to organize an event to take place on a single day in which everyone could participate. 

As was the case last year, this year’s ride will start with a “Victory Lap” where cyclists will get to ride alongside those children and families the Thursday’s Heroes Program benefits.  It is truly a unique experience.  Once the Victory Lap is completed, registered riders will head out onto the course for up to 104 miles of cycling.

To cap off the day, registered riders will be able to attend the Ruby River Celebration Dinner held in the Cougar Club Room at LaVell Edwards Stadium in Provo.  At the dinner, The Holly & Bronco Mendenhall Foundation will be awarding a grant to a Thursday’s Heroes family. 

Proceeds from the event will benefit Thursday’s Heroes and their families by providing them with the funds to make necessary adaptations to their homes and/or vehicles which will allow for improved daily living.  In addition families are able to apply for grants to assist in the costs of medical and therapy treatments. 

The Holly & Bronco Mendenhall Foundation began in 2006 with a focus on providing assistance to children and families facing significant life challenges.  By supporting the BYU Football’s Thursday’s Heroes program, the Foundation has affected the lives of over 100 individual families across the intermountain-west. 

For more information on the 2013 Hero Ride, visit the Hero Ride website

Rockwood and Owens on True Blue

Aug 19, 2013 - Posted by knielsen at 11:37 am | Updated: August 20, 2013 1:24 pm | Permalink

BYU women's soccer head coach Jennifer Rockwood and senior goalkeeper Erica Owens were guests on BYUtv's True Blue on Monday night. Check out their interview with Dave McCann below.

 

 

Football continues second week of camp

Aug 14, 2013 - Posted by Aaron Sorenson at 2:09 pm | Permalink

The Cougars continued fall camp today with a morning practice focused on position drills. 

"We're facing injuries, fatigue and I thought we started to lose some momentum in camp, so working on individual assignements was the main focus for today," head coach Bronco Mendenhall said. "Today we wanted to recover physically and focus on treatment then we will look to gear it up again with a slight break today."

As previously reported, defensive back Jordan Johnson will miss the 2013 season with an ACL tear while defensive lineman Tuni Kanuch also suffered a season-ending injury with a pectoral tear. Both injuries will require surgery.

"Kanuch, two or three days ago in a drill, we saw him hold his shoulder, then we found out his pec was torn from the bone," Mendenhall said. "So his pain threshold is high but the strength never came back."

Freshman defensive back Dallin Leavitt is listed as day-to-day after suffering a hip flexor strain on Tuesday. Sophomore Eric Thornton, who was playing wide receiver, has moved to defensive back.