BYU Begins Second Half of Mountain West Play Friday and Saturday | The Official Site of BYU Athletics

BYU Begins Second Half of Mountain West Play Friday and Saturday

PROVO, Utah -- BYU begins the second half of its Mountain West Conference season Friday and Saturday at home with matches against New Mexico and Air Force. The Cougars, who completed the first half of the conference season tied for first place with a 6-1 record, face the Lobos Friday and the Falcons Saturday. Both matches begin at 7 p.m.

A Quick Look at the Cougars

Ranked 11th in the country in the AVCA/USA Today poll, BYU returns to the friendly confines of the Smith Fieldhouse this weekend after playing a four-matches-in-five-nights road trip. BYU lost its only conference match to No. 12 Colorado State and then won three straight over Wyoming, Arizona State and No. 19 Arizona. Two BYU records were set against Wyoming. Anna-Lena Smith set the all-time assist record surpassing Charlene Johnson Tagaloa and Sunny Tonga set the single match attack percentage mark, hitting .909 (10-0-11). BYU has won six of its seven conference matches in three-game sweeps. Its lone loss to Colorado State was also a three-game match. As a team, BYU leads the conference in three statistical categories -- blocks per game (3.45), kills per game (16.88) and hitting percentage (.292) -- and is second in two -- assists per game (14.93 and won-lost percentage (.850). Individually, four conference statistical categories have a Cougar leading the way. Mari Carpenter in hitting percentage (.367), Anna-Lena Smith in assists (13.42) and Nina Puikkonen in blocks (1.64) and kills (4.23).

Quote from Coach Elaine Michaelis

"New Mexico had just changed their lineup when we played the first time and they will be a better team because they have had time to gel as a unit. Air Force is fourth in the conference and they fought us tough at their place. They are probably the most improved team in the conference."

Series with the Lobos

This will be BYU's 52nd meeting with New Mexico. The Cougars have a 44-7 series record with the Lobos, dating back to 1970. BYU has a eight-match winning streak, with the Lobos last victory taking place in Provo, 3-0, in 1995. BYU won 3-0 earlier this year. The Lobos have a 7-17 overall record. The Lobos broke an eight-match losing skid last week with two consecutive 3-1 wins over Mountain West opponents UNLV and San Diego State.

The Last Match

ALBUQUERQUE -- Playing what coach Elaine Michaelis called her team's best effort of the year, BYU's 11th-ranked women's volleyball team defeated New Mexico, 15-8, 15-1, 15-8, o improve to 9-2 overall and 2-0 in Mountain West Conference play. Senior Caroline Bower led the attack for the Cougars, knocking down 15 kills while hitting .542. She also was a key defensive force with eight digs and five blocks. Sophomore Nina Puikkonen added 11 kills and eight blocks while All-American setter Anna-Lena Smith tossed up 42 assists and had a match-high 10 digs. New Mexico, which fell to 5-13 overall and 0-2 in the Mountain West, was held to a .073 attack percentage as the Cougars dominated at the net with 15 team blocks to the Lobos three. The Cougars hit .404 for the match, including .571 in the second game when they only made one error. Freshman Sunny Tonga took advantage of her opportunities, recording six kills in seven attempts in one game of action.

Series with the Falcons

This will be BYU's fourth meeting with Air Force. The Cougars hold a 3-0 advantage in the series, including a 3-0 win at Air Force earlier this year. Entering a Friday match with Utah at 16-5, the Falcons have already set a school record for most wins in a season since moving to division I in 1996. Last year the Falcons were 9-17 and 2-12 in the WAC. Coach Penny Lucas-White has 11 letterwinners and five of six starters returning. Air Force is coming off three consecutive conference wins over New Mexico, San Diego State and UNLV.

The Last Match

UNITED STATES AIR FORCE ACADEMY -- Nina Puikkonen had match highs of 12 kills and seven blocks to lead 11th-ranked BYU to a 3-0 win over the Air Force Academy in the Cougars' inaugural Mountain West Conference match.Outside hitters Caroline Bower and Mari Carpenter each put down eight kills in the 16-14, 15-6, 15-5 win. After starting slow while only hitting .080 in a tough first-game win, BYU recovered to hit .286 in the second game to take away any momentum from the Falcons. Despite another poor hitting effort in the third game (.083), the Cougars were able to hold the Falcons to only four kills in the decisive game. On defense, Bower and Natalie Whittaker had 10 digs apiece to shared team-high honors while Anna-Lena Smith and Jackie Bundy each came up with seven digs. The Cougars dominated the shorter Falcon team at the net, totalling 13 team blocks to Air Force's one.

Smith's Record-"Setting" Pace

All-American senior setter Anna-Lena Smith set BYU's all-time assist record when she tossed up her ninth assist against Wyoming last week. The four-year starter has 5,476 career assists surpassing the old mark by current U.S. National Team setter Charlene Johnson Tagaloa of 5, 321. Smith also equaled a personal best against Arizona on Tuesday, hitting .615 for the match with eight kills.

Puikkonen Strong in the Middle

Puikkonen averaged 5.22 kills, 2.78 digs and 2.22 blocks to lead BYU to a 2-1 record last week. She was the top Cougar in kills and blocks and was second on the team in digs. She also hit a team-leading .378. She leads the Mountain West Conference in kills (4.23 kpg) and blocks (1.64 bpg). She is eighth nationally in blocking. No one in the past five years has averaged more blocks per game than Nina Puikkonen did last year (2.17 bpg). A Volleyball magazine Freshman All-American last year, this year she has been named to the Georgia Invitational and Loyola Marymount Invitational all-tournament teams and selected as a Mountain West Conferenc Player of the Week.

Bower Provides Leadership with All-Around Game

Senior Caroline Bower had double-double against Arizona while recording 11 kills and matching her career best of 27 digs. According to coach Michaelis, she carried the team to the 3-2 win over the No. 19 Wildcats. She leads the team with five double-doubles. She leads the team in digs averaging 3.20 per game.

Tonga Sets School Attack Percentage Record

True freshman Sunny Tonga set a BYU single-match attack percentage record against Wyoming last Saturday when successfully put down 10 kills in 11 attempts without a single error for a .909 hitting percentage. She kept the hot hand and totalling a personal-best 13 kills in 14 attempts with one error against Arizona State to record BYU's third best single-match effort of .857.

Soft-Spoken Michaelis Wields Winning Stick

In the world of collegiate women's volleyball, few if any coaches command more respect than Cougar head coach Elaine Michaelis. Now beginning her 38th year at the helm of the BYU program, Elaine Michaelis also enters her fifth year as Director of Women's Athletics. A proven winner, Michaelis is second all-time in Division I victories with an 829-207-5 record (since records were first kept at BYU beginning in 1969) and has the most wins ever by a female coach. She enters her first season in the new Mountain West Conference with a 321-30 conference record in four previous leagues and the distinction of winning the inaugural championship of each league. Last year, Michaelis coached in her 1000th recorded match and reached the milestone of 800 victories while coaching the Cougars to their third straight NCAA Regional Final. Michaelis, whose 31-4 record last year marked the eighth time she has recorded more than 30 victories in a season, has had 25 straight 20-win seasons.

Brigham Young Overall Team Statistics (as of Oct 26, 1999)

All matches

Overall record: 17-3 Conf: 6-1 Home: 5-0 Away: 9-2 Neutral: 3-1

TEAM STATISTICS BYU OPP

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ATTACK........................

Kills....................... 1165 933

Errors...................... 418 532

Total Attacks............... 2560 2660

Attack Pct.................. .292 .151

Kills/Game.................. 16.9 13.5

SET...........................

Assists..................... 1030 835

Assists/Game................ 14.9 12.1

SERVE.........................

Aces........................ 105 132

Errors...................... 231 201

Aces/Game................... 1.5 1.9

SERVE RECEPTIONS..............

Errors...................... 136 105

Errors/Game................. 2.0 1.5

DEFENSE.......................

Digs........................ 966 812

Digs/Game................... 14.0 11.8

BLOCKING......................

Block Solo.................. 50 28

Block Assist................ 376 199

Total Blocks................ 238.0 127.5

Blocks Per Game............. 3.4 1.8

Block Errors................ 46 33

BALL HANDLING ERRORS.......... 28 28

ATTENDANCE....................

Total....................... 7849 13555

Dates/Avg Per Date.......... 5/1570 11/1232

Neutral site #/Avg.......... 4/236

MATCH WINS BY #GAMES 1 2 3 4 5 Total

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Brigham Young....... 0 0 11 3 3 - 17

Opponents........... 0 0 3 0 0 - 3

GAMES WON BY GAME 1 2 3 4 5 Total

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Brigham Young....... 15 14 13 6 3 - 51

Opponents........... 5 6 7 0 0 - 18

POINTS BY GAME 1 2 3 4 5 Total

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Brigham Young....... 274 274 268 90 49 - 955

Opponents........... 206 186 234 36 31 - 693

Brigham Young Overall Individual Statistics (as of Oct 26, 1999)

|-----------ATTACK---------| |---SET---| |-----SERVE----|

## Name GP-MP-MS K K/Game E TA Pct A A/Game SA SA/Gm SE

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15 TONGA, Sunny 33 16- 93 2.82 21 191 .377 7 0.21 2 0.06 6

14 CARPENTER, Mari 52 18- 205 3.94 52 417 .367 1 0.02 1 0.02 3

9 PUIKKONEN, Nina 69 20- 292 4.23 91 561 .358 9 0.13 16 0.23 52

3 SMITH, Anna-Lena 69 20- 79 1.14 20 172 .343 926 13.42 11 0.16 15

8 BOWER, Caroline 69 20- 214 3.10 76 546 .253 24 0.35 23 0.33 18

11 BARRUS, Alyssa 13 10- 12 0.92 4 33 .242 1 0.08 0 0.00 0

10 BUNDY, Jackie 60 20- 132 2.20 64 301 .226 13 0.22 16 0.27 31

12 LAYTON, Melissa 64 20- 134 2.09 72 302 .205 28 0.44 21 0.33 74

7 BRINTON, Martha 5 4- 0 0.00 0 1 .000 10 2.00 0 0.00 0

6 KENNEDY, Emily 4 3- 0 0.00 0 0 .000 1 0.25 1 0.25 0

2 WHITTAKER, Natalie 69 20- 1 0.01 7 20 -.300 7 0.10 12 0.17 24

5 RHEAD, Amy 20 13- 2 0.10 6 9 -.444 2 0.10 1 0.05 7

18 O'REILLY, Lindsey 2 2- 1 0.50 3 4 -.500 1 0.50 1 0.50 0

17 OTTESON, Michelle 4 4- 0 0.00 2 2 -1.000 0 0.00 0 0.00 1

BRIGHAM YOUNG....... 69 20- 1165 16.88 418 2560 .292 1030 14.93 105 1.52 231

Opponents........... 69 20- 933 13.52 532 2660 .151 835 12.10 132 1.91 201

|---DIG---| |--------BLOCKING---------|

## Name G RE DIG Dig/G BS BA Total B/Game BE BHE

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15 TONGA, Sunny 33 2 16 0.48 4 19 23 0.70 1 0

14 CARPENTER, Mari 52 3 36 0.69 7 25 32 0.62 6 0

9 PUIKKONEN, Nina 69 17 137 1.99 18 95 113 1.64 10 1

3 SMITH, Anna-Lena 69 0 124 1.80 2 50 52 0.75 6 16

8 BOWER, Caroline 69 31 221 3.20 8 45 53 0.77 5 2

11 BARRUS, Alyssa 13 0 3 0.23 0 11 11 0.85 1 0

10 BUNDY, Jackie 60 34 123 2.05 6 72 78 1.30 11 1

12 LAYTON, Melissa 64 14 144 2.25 4 57 61 0.95 6 5

6 KENNEDY, Emily 4 0 4 1.00 0 0 0 0.00 0 0

7 BRINTON, Martha 5 0 0 0.00 1 2 3 0.60 0 2

2 WHITTAKER, Natalie 69 22 123 1.78 0 0 0 0.00 0 1

5 RHEAD, Amy 20 9 29 1.45 0 0 0 0.00 0 0

18 O'REILLY, Lindsey 2 0 2 1.00 0 0 0 0.00 0 0

17 OTTESON, Michelle 4 0 2 0.50 0 0 0 0.00 0 0

TEAM 4

BRIGHAM YOUNG....... 69 136 966 14.00 50 376 238.0 3.45 46 28

Opponents........... 69 105 812 11.77 28 199 127.5 1.85 33 28