BYU Co-Favorite to Win MWC

Reigning MWC Player of the Year Lindsy Hartsock is the favorite to win the honor again in 2006. (Photo by Jaren Wilkey/BYU Photo)

BYU and Utah Tabbed Preseason MWC Favorites

Lindsy Hartsock Picked to Repeat as MWC Player of the Year

COLORADO SPRINGS -- BYU and Utah are considered co-favorites to win the Mountain West Conference women's volleyball title in 2006, and the Cougars' Lindsy Hartsock is expected to repeat as MWC Player of the Year, according to the league's preseason poll released Tuesday.

A voting panel that included all nine MWC head coaches and selected media members evenly split 12 of the 14 first-place votes between the Cougars and Utes, with both schools earning 116 total points to top the poll. Colorado State received two first-place votes and 101 points to finish third in the poll, followed by UNLV in fourth with 83 points. San Diego State and Wyoming tallied 59 points each to tie for fifth place, followed by New Mexico (42), TCU (41) and Air Force (14).

"Our program is honored to be recognized and is looking forward to the challenges of a new season," BYU coach Jason Watson said. "We have a lot of work to do in preparation for an extremely competitive conference season."

Last year BYU and Hartsock received the same preseason honors and both proved those predictions true as Hartsock went on to be named the 2005 MWC Player of the Year while the Cougars won the regular-season title with a 14-2 league record in Watson's first year overseeing the program. The 2005 MWC Coach of the Year, Watson guided BYU to the NCAA Tournament and a 25-4 overall record.

Four MWC teams were represented on the 2006 Preseason All-MWC team, led by BYU with three selections. Joining Hartsock (Sr., MB) on the team for BYU are 2005 all-conference honorees Chelsea Goodman (Jr., OH) and Erica Lott (Jr., OH).

"Lindsy, Chelsea and Erica are deserving of their individual recognitions," Watson said. "We'll look for them to lead us this season and have great confidence in their abilities"

Eight All-MWC players from last season return for the 2006 campaign, including BYU's trio of all-conference returners. Hartsock received AVCA All-America honorable mention accolades in 2005, while Goodman and Lott finished 1-2 in the MWC in kills (4.25 and 4.05 kpg, respectively). Other preseason all-conference picks include Utah's Airial Salvo (So., OH), who was the MWC Freshman of the Year last year, and Shannon Krug (So., S); UNLV's Lauren Miramontes (Jr., MB); and San Diego State's Aime Cordeiro (Jr., L).

BYU will be one of eight MWC teams to begin the 2006 season on Aug. 25 at season-opening tournaments (Air Force starts its season on Aug. 28, hosting Morgan State). The Cougars will travel to Orlando, Fla., for the Central Florida Fall Classic before returning to Provo to host Stanford on Sept. 1 in the four-team BYU Molten Classic. The 2006 MWC Volleyball Championship takes place Nov. 22-25 in Las Vegas.

2006 PRESEASON VOLLEYBALL POLL

Place Team (1st place votes) Points

1. BYU (6) 116

Utah (6) 116

3. Colorado State (2) 101

4. UNLV 83

5. San Diego State 59

Wyoming 59

7. New Mexico 42

8. TCU 41

9. Air Force 14

2006 PRESEASON ALL-MWC TEAM

Player Class Position Team

Chelsea Goodman Jr. OH BYU

Lindsy Hartsock Sr. MB BYU

Erica Lott Jr. OH BYU

Lauren Miramontes Jr. MB UNLV

Airial Salvo So. OH Utah

Setter: Shannon Krug So. Utah

Libero: Aime Cordeiro Jr. San Diego State

Preseason Player of the Year: Lindsy Hartsock, BYU