Sunny Mahe returns for her senior year in 2003 after redshirting last season. (Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)
PROVO -- BYU looks to continue its winning tradition in 2003 against a strong schedule featuring 15 teams that had 20-win seasons last year.
The Cougars boast 10 matches against opponents who qualified for the 2002 NCAA Tournament, including No. 4 Florida, No. 13 Ohio State and No. 16 Penn State. BYU's non-conference opponents posted a .693 winning percentage in 2002. Overall, BYU's opponents won at a .641 clip, as 17 of 22 had winning records.
"Like last season, this will be a tough schedule, but we look forward to playing some of the best teams in the country," BYU head coach Karen Lamb said. "We have a lot of talent coming back and three key redshirts returning. We expect to be a top-20 team this season."
Four of the Cougars' opponents won conference titles last year and four others finished as league runners-up. In all 14 opponents achieved top-four finishes in their conferences last season.
Conferences represented on BYU's non-league schedule include the Big Ten, Big East, Southeastern, Big West, Conference USA, Missouri Valley, Mid-American, Sunbelt, Western Athletic, Big Sky and Patriot League.
On the road for their first seven matches, the Cougars will face No. 4 host Florida (34-1 in 2002), American (26-8) and Rutgers (17-11) at the Gator Invitational August 29-30. Just one week after its trip to the Sunshine state, BYU will travel to Springfield, Mo., where it will enter another two-day tournament against Arkansas (27-6), North Texas (16-17), St. Louis (21-10) and tournament host Southwest Missouri State (21-9).
The Cougars will host their first home matches Sept. 12-13, with a strong field at the Mizuno Classic, presented by Provo Courtyard Marriott. Played in the George Albert Smith Fieldhouse, the Cougars host No. 13 Ohio State (21-11), Rice (18-16), and No. 16 Penn State (25-8). BYU hosts UVSC (24-4) on Sept. 19 before facing Nevada (22-10) on Sept. 20. The match against UVSC will be a first-time meeting between the two local schools as UVSC prepares to enter Division I play.
BYU begins MWC play at home against the Rams of Colorado State (22-10 in 2002) on Sept. 26 followed by another tough home contest against Wyoming (20-11) on Sept. 27. The Cougars then leave for a three-game road trip beginning in Albuquerque, N.M., against the Lobos (10-21) on Oct. 2, followed by a showdown against the Falcons of Air Force (8-22) on Oct.3 and competing closer to home in Ogden against the Wildcats of Weber State (20-13) on Oct. 7.
The Cougars will be back in the Smith Fieldhouse on Oct. 10 to continue the instate rivalry as they face the defending MWC Champions Utah (25-9). They will play San Diego State (22-12) on Oct. 17 and UNLV (11-20) on Oct. 18. BYU starts the second half of conference play at Wyoming (Oct. 24), at Colorado State (Oct. 25), New Mexico (Oct. 31), Air Force (Nov. 1) at Utah (Nov. 7), at UNLV (Nov. 14) and finish up conference play in San Diego against the Aztecs on Nov. 15.
After finishing the MWC regular season on the road, BYU will compete in the MWC Tournament in San Diego Nov. 22-23. BYU will finish the regular season at home hosting instate rival Utah State (14-15) on Nov. 25 and matching up for the first time against Eastern Michigan (28-7) on Nov. 28.
In all, BYU's schedule includes 30 matches, with two preseason road tournaments and the Mizuno Classic. The Cougars will play 14 matches in the Smith Fieldhouse and a minimum of 16 matches on the road, including 6 neutral contests.
As the Cougars match up with their 2003 opponents, BYU has a winning record with all of them but three: Arkansas (0-1), Florida (3-4) and Penn State (3-4). BYU's all-time record versus this season's opponents is a dominating 371-75-1 (.830).
The Cougars hope to return to the NCAA Tournament with the first round beginning on Dec. 5. The Cougars have made 30 appearances in national championship tournaments, including 20 of 22 NCAA tournaments. BYU has won 23 conference titles.
2003 BYU WOMEN'S VOLLEYBALL Schedule
Date Opponent Site Time
Aug. 29-30 @ Florida Tournament Gainesville, Fla.
Aug. 29 American Noon
Aug. 29 Rutgers 5:30 p.m.
Aug. 30 Florida 3:30 p.m.
Sept. 5-6 Southwest Missouri State Tourney Springfield, Mo.
Sept. 5 Arkansas 2:30 p.m.
Sept. 5 North Texas 7 p.m.
Sept. 6 St. Louis 2:30 p.m.
Sept. 6 Southwest Missouri State 7 p.m.
Sept. 12-13 BYU Mizuno Classic
Presented by Pvovo Courtyard Marriott PROVO, Utah
Sept. 12 Ohio State 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 13 Rice Noon
Sept. 13 Penn State 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 19 Utah Valley State College PROVO, Utah 7 p.m.
Sept. 20 Nevada PROVO, Utah 5 p.m.
Sept. 26* Colorado State PROVO, Utah 7 p.m.
Sept. 27* Wyoming PROVO, Utah 7 p.m.
Oct. 2* @New Mexico Albuquerque, N.M. 7 p.m.
Oct. 3* @Air Force Colorado Springs, Colo. 7 p.m.
Oct. 7 @Weber State Ogden, Utah TBA
Oct. 10* Utah PROVO, Utah 7 p.m.
Oct. 17* San Diego State PROVO, Utah 7 p.m.
Oct. 18* UNLV PROVO, Utah 7 p.m.
Oct. 24* Wyoming Laramie, Wyo. 7 p.m.
Oct. 25* Colorado State Fort Collins, Colo. 7 p.m.
Oct. 31* New Mexico PROVO, Utah 7 p.m.
Nov. 1* Air Force PROVO, Utah 7 p.m.
Nov. 7* @Utah Salt Lake City 7 p.m.
Nov. 14* UNLV Las Vegas, Nev. 7 p.m.
Nov. 15* San Diego State San Diego, Calif. 7 p.m.
Nov. 20-22 Mountain West Tournament San Diego, Calif. TBA
Nov. 25 Utah State PROVO, Utah 6 p.m.
Nov. 28 Eastern Michigan PROVO, Utah 7 p.m.
Dec. 5-6 NCAA 1st and 2nd Rounds TBA TBA
Dec. 12-13 NCAA Regionals TBA TBA
Dec. 18-20 NCAA Final Four Dallas, Texas TBA
* denotes Mountain West Conference matches
** all times listed are local to site