BYU Picked to Win MWC

Junior middle blocker Lindsy Hartsock has been named a preseason MWC Co-Played of the Year. (Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)

Three Cougars selected All-MWC including preseason Co-Player of the Year Lindsy Hartsock

COLORADO SPRINGS -- BYU has been chosen as the preseason favorite to win the Mountain West Conference regular-season title, as selected by a voting panel comprised of the nine MWC head coaches and selected media. The Cougars collected seven first-place votes and 108 total points. Utah topped Colorado State for second place as the Utes totaled 106 points, while the Rams had 96 points. Utah and CSU tallied three first-place votes apiece. UNLV was picked fourth, followed by TCU, San Diego State, Wyoming, New Mexico and Air Force.

"This is a nice acknowledgement of the talent, depth and leadership of our team," BYU Head Coach Jason Watson said. "However, we have lots of work to do before we can live up to that ranking. We're just focusing on being competitive when conference play begins."

Three BYU players were named to the preseason All-MWC team, including outside hitter Erica Lott, setter Lauren Richards and middle blocker Lindsy Hartsock, who was named a Co-Player of the Year along with Colorado State's Tess Rogers.

"It's a great honor," said Hartsock, of being named preseason Co-Player of the Year. "I think it says a lot more about our team and what we're going to do this year than it says about me."

Nine all-Mountain West Conference players return for the 2005 season, including Co-Freshmen of the Year Maria Aladjova (So., OH, UNLV) and Rachel Smith (So., OH, Wyoming). All-conference performers Tess Rogers (Sr., OH) and Dre Downs (Sr., RS/MB) return for regular season co-champion and MWC Tournament champion Colorado State. Downs was named Honorable Mention AVCA All-America in 2004, while Rogers led the MWC in kills (3.92 kpg) last season. Lindsy Hartsock (Jr., MB), Lauren Richards (Sr., S) and Kim Wilson (Sr., OH) will lead the Cougars this season. Hartsock ranked second in the nation in blocks (1.86 per game) as a sophomore, while Richards led the MWC in service aces (0.50 per game) and was third in assists (12.45). Wilson was among MWC leaders for kills and aces. Shelly Sommerfeldt (Sr., OH) and Connie Dangerfield (Jr., L) will lead the Utah attack. Dangerfield was second in the MWC in digs in 2004 (4.17 per game), breaking the MWC single season (467) and tying the league single match (33) mark for digs in the process. Sommerfeldt tallied 3.08 kills per game and an attack percentage of .207 last season.

The 2005 season is set to start on Friday, Aug. 26, with Air Force, UNLV and Wyoming in tournament play. 2004 MWC Co-Champion Utah will also be in action, hosting Idaho State. Conference play begins on Thursday, Sept. 22 with San Diego State hosting defending co-regular season champion and 2004 MWC Tournament champion Colorado State and UNLV hosting Wyoming. The 2005 MWC Volleyball Championship takes place Nov. 22-26 at UNLV.

2005 Preseason All-MWC Team

Player Cl. Pos. Team

Lindsy Hartsock Jr. MB BYU

Erica Lott So. OH BYU

Dre Downs Sr. RS/MB Colorado State

Tess Rogers Sr. OH Colorado State

Shelly Sommerfeldt Sr. OH Utah

Setter: Lauren Richards Sr. BYU

Libero: Connie Dangerfield Jr. Utah

Preseason Co-Players of the Year:

Lindsy Hartsock, BYU

Tess Rogers, Colorado State

2005 Preseason Volleyball Coaches' Poll

Pl. Team (1st place votes) Points

1. BYU (7) 108

2. Utah (3) 106

3. Colorado State (3) 96

4. UNLV 74

5. TCU 62

6. San Diego State 44

7. Wyoming 42

8. New Mexico 37

9. Air Force 16