BYU Loses Five-Game, Bloody Battle at Utah | The Official Site of BYU Athletics

BYU Loses Five-Game, Bloody Battle at Utah

SALT LAKE -- BYU lost a five-game battle at No. 18 Utah Friday by a nose -- a bloody nose.

The No. 13 Cougars fell to 12-4 on the year and 6-2 in the Mountain West Conference with a 25-30, 30-25, 32-30, 26-30, 12-15 loss to the Utes, now 13-4 and 6-2.

Coming off a rare home loss Tuesday against Utah State, the Cougars were looking to avoid suffering back-to-back losses for the first time in more than a year. Leading two games to one and up 20-14 in game four, BYU seemed well on its way to the win until All-American Nina Puikkonen was struck in the nose, causing her nose to bleed. While she was eventually able to get the bleeding under control and return to the game, for the Cougars, the bleeding never stopped.

When Puikkonen was forced out of game four, BYU had assumed control of the game and seemingly the match. Puikkonen had just rotated to the front row where she could continue her offensive assault. When she returned, BYU's lead had shrunk to three and the momentum had taken a noticeable turn.

"Nina was on the front row and she is such a vital part of our offense," BYU coach Elaine Michaelis said. "By the time she got back in Utah had cut our lead and taken the momentum and we never were able to get the momentum back. We should have been able to pick it up but it is hard when you lose your star."

The Utes out scored BYU 16-6 after the Puikkonen departure to win the fourth game 30-26. In the decisive fifth game, they jumped out to a quick 4-0 lead and held on to edge the Cougars 15-12 for the victory. The win marks the first time in 20 years that the Utes have earned back-to-back home wins over BYU.

"It was a random, fluky thing, but that ended up giving them the momentum," Puikkonen said. "I've been on an upward slope the last few days in terms of my personal life and I felt a lot more confident tonight. I was iffy with my confidence a little this year."

Puikkonen certainly played with a lot of confidence Friday, recording season highs with 24 kills, 14 digs and a .500 attack percentage. Her 14 digs equaled her career high and she was only one kill shy of her best-ever effort of 25. She also had eight blocks, nearly totaling a triple-double. She surpassed 1,500 career kills, fifth all-time at BYU.

"I thought BYU played really well," Utah coach Beth Launiere said. "Truthfully, I thought we were in trouble, but we played with a lot of pride and courage. I thought we blocked well, especially in games four and five."

Utah had five players reach double figures in kills, led by Kim Turner with 18 and McKelle Stilson with 16. Sylva Strzinkova had a match-high 18 digs and Turner a match-best nine blocks for Utah. The Utes totaled 15.5 team blocks and 71 digs while BYU had 17 team blocks and 67 digs. Utah hit .218 compared to .180 for BYU.

Sunny Mahe helped BYU with 16 kills and Jackie Bundy contributed 13. Natalie Whittaker added nine kills and a team-best 15 digs, while Karina Puikkonen had a double-double with 11 digs and a season-high 62 assists. Sophomore middle blocker Carrie Bowers saw her first action of the year while Puikkonen was being attended to on the BYU bench.

The two teams traded 30-25 wins over the first two games. Utah pulled away from a 24-all tie in game one to claim the win. BYU made its run in game two with Uila Crabbe serving four straight points to build the Cougar lead to 28-23. A Jackie Bundy ace finished the game at 30-25. In game three, Sunny Mahe scored three straight points for BYU to help turn a 28-28 tie into a 32-30 victory.

"This was a great match," Michaelis said. "Utah played well. We played well. Whoever had the momentum at the right time was going to win."

BYU suffered its first back-to-back defeats since losing to Utah State and nationally ranked Arizona last September. Ironically, BYU lost to Utah State Tuesday before dropping Friday's contest to No. 18 Utah. Utah State earned a top-25 ranking last year after its upset of BYU and could return to the rankings this year with recent wins over nationally ranked Pacific and BYU.

The Cougars stay on the road next week with matches at Sacramento State, Air Force and New Mexico.

Volleyball Box Score

The Automated ScoreBook

BYU Cougars vs Utah Utes (Oct 19, 2001 at Salt Lake City, Utah)

BYU Cougars | ATTACK |SET| SERVE |SRV|DEF| BLOCK |GEN

## Name GP| K E TA PCT| A| SA SE| RE|DIG|BS BA BE|BHE|POINTS

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

2 WHITTAKER, Natalie.. 5| 9 6 35 .086| 1| 1 1| 1| 15| 1 3 2| 0| 12.5

5 PUIKKONEN, Karina... 5| 4 3 17 .059| 62| 0 1| 0| 11| 0 5 0| 0| 6.5

9 PUIKKONEN, Nina..... 5| 24 3 42 .500| 1| 0 3| 1| 14| 0 8 0| 0| 28.0

10 BUNDY, Jackie....... 5| 13 7 27 .222| 0| 1 1| 1| 8| 1 6 0| 0| 18.0

12 CRABBE, Uila........ 5| 0 1 1-1.000| 0| 0 1| 2| 9| 0 0 0| 0| 0.0

15 MAHE, Sunny......... 5| 16 6 46 .217| 4| 1 0| 1| 8| 0 4 0| 0| 19.0

6 STEELE, Lindsey..... 2| 1 2 4 -.250| 1| 0 0| 0| 0| 0 1 1| 0| 1.5

8 BOWERS, Carrie...... 1| 0 1 1-1.000| 0| 0 0| 0| 0| 0 0 0| 0| 0.0

11 RICHARDS, Lauren.... 5| 6 9 21 -.143| 0| 0 0| 0| 1| 1 1 0| 0| 7.5

17 MAHAFFEY, Michelle.. 1| 0 0 0 .000| 0| 0 0| 0| 1| 0 0 0| 0| 0.0

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Totals.............. 5| 73 38 194 .180| 69| 3 7| 6| 67| 3 28 3| 0| 93.0

TEAM ATTACK PER GAME TOTAL TEAM BLOCKS: 17.0

Game K E TA Pct

1 17 11 47 .128 GAME SCORES 1 2 3 4 5 TEAM RECORDS

2 17 8 42 .214 BYU Cougars......... 25 30 32 26 12 12-4, 6-2 MWC

3 18 8 44 .227 Utah Utes........... 30 25 30 30 15 13-4, 6-2 MWC

4 15 5 47 .213

5 6 6 14 .000

Utah Utes | ATTACK |SET| SERVE |SRV|DEF| BLOCK |GEN

## Name GP| K E TA PCT| A| SA SE| RE|DIG|BS BA BE|BHE|POINTS

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

2 MORRILL, Jackie..... 5| 0 1 1-1.000| 35| 1 0| 0| 13| 0 0 0| 0| 1.0

10 STRZINKOVA, Sylva... 5| 13 5 43 .186| 2| 1 1| 1| 18| 0 1 1| 0| 14.5

12 ELLETT, Katrena..... 5| 13 3 28 .357| 2| 0 0| 0| 5| 0 3 0| 1| 14.5

13 GEDDES, Alisa....... 5| 10 10 44 .000| 2| 3 3| 1| 7| 0 5 0| 1| 15.5

15 TURNER, Kim......... 5| 18 7 33 .333| 0| 0 0| 0| 3| 0 9 3| 0| 22.5

16 BRADLEY-DRAKE, Adria 5| 9 3 18 .333| 1| 1 0| 0| 11| 2 4 0| 0| 14.0

3 STILSON, McKelle.... 5| 16 7 29 .310| 2| 0 0| 0| 2| 0 5 1| 0| 18.5

6 KARTCHNER, Kelsie... 5| 0 0 0 .000| 28| 0 2| 0| 6| 0 0 0| 2| 0.0

9 URBANOVA, Lenka..... 3| 0 0 1 .000| 0| 0 2| 1| 5| 0 0 0| 0| 0.0

11 HENRIKSEN, Tara..... 2| 0 0 0 .000| 0| 0 1| 0| 1| 0 0 0| 0| 0.0

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Totals.............. 5| 79 36 197 .218| 72| 6 9| 3| 71| 2 27 5| 4| 100.5

TEAM ATTACK PER GAME TOTAL TEAM BLOCKS: 15.5

Game K E TA Pct

1 14 5 38 .237 Site: Salt Lake City, Utah (Crimson Court)

2 13 11 39 .051 Date: Oct 19, 2001 Attend: 1571 Time: 2:12

3 20 9 49 .224 Referees: Verna Klubniken, Kim Norman, Gina Acker

4 25 8 50 .340

5 7 3 21 .190