BYU Opens 2007 Season at Hawkeye Challenge

Junior middle blocker Rachel Dyer and the 2007 Cougars will kick off the season at the Hawkeye Challenge this weekend. (Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)

PROVO -- The No. 17 BYU women's volleyball team will kick off its 2007 season this weekend at the Hawkeye Challenge hosted by the University of Iowa. The Cougars will face Marquette on Friday night before taking on host Iowa on Saturday night.

"This weekend will be a challenge," said BYU head coach Jason Watson. "Both Marquette and Iowa are competitive programs, competing in nationally successful conferences. It will a great test for our team."

Both matches will begin at 7 p.m. CT and can be heard live on BYU Radio. Live stats will also be available by going to the schedule page of the BYU women's volleyball homepage at www.byucougars.com/volleyball_w. Iowa and Marquette will face each other on Sunday.

The Golden Eagles finished 16-15 overall last year, including a 10-4 Big East mark, tying for third place. Senior outside hitter Kimberley Todd was 19th in the nation with 4.81 kills per game in 2006 and is one of four returning starters. The Hawkeyes went 13-19 overall and 2-18 in the Big Ten in 2006. Junior libero Emily Hiza, also one of four returning starters, averaged 4.74 digs per game.

Cougar senior outside hitter Chelsea Goodman, the preseason Mountain West Conference Player of the Year, headlines an experienced BYU roster featuring six returning starters among 11 returning letterwinners. In addition to Goodman, the Cougars will also have the services of 2006 All-MWC selections Erica Lott (senior rightside) and Rachel Dyer (junior middle blocker). The preseason favorites to win the league title, the Cougars are anxious to get the season underway.

"We are excited to begin a new season," said Watson "There's work to be done, but our progress so far has been good."

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