BYU Season Ends in Five-Game First-Round Loss | The Official Site of BYU Athletics

BYU Season Ends in Five-Game First-Round Loss

SALT LAKE -- BYU made a quick exit from the NCAA Tournament in a long and closely contested match, losing in the first round to Utah State in five games, 26-30, 31-29, 23-30, 30-27, 14-16.

The loss marks the first time since 1991 that the Cougars have failed to advance to the second round. BYU finished the season with a 20-9 record while Utah State improved to 20-10.

"That's about as even as you can play in a match," said BYU head coach Elaine Michaelis. "Both teams played good, both played hard. We just didn't get a break. It basically came down to a single play and they were able to make it."

The Aggies, who swept BYU in Provo earlier this season, recorded the second consecutive victory against the Cougars. The last time BYU lost two consecutive matches to Utah State was in the 1979 and 1980 season.

The loss made the first round match the last for three Cougars. Seniors Nina Puikkonen, Jackie Bundy and Natalie Whittaker each put up big numbers for BYU. Whittaker used her final performance in a Cougar uniform to record a career-high 21 digs. Puikkonen recorded her 13th double-double on the season, finishing with 22 kills, 16 digs and seven blocks. Bundy had a double-double with 12 kills and 11 digs.

"I think a couple of errors could have been the difference," Puikkonen said. "It was a very close match."

Sunny Mahe was on of three BYU players to finish with a double-double, recording 16 kills, 14 digs and four blocks. Mahe led the team in hitting accuracy with a .324 attack percentage.

"Losing is bad no matter how it happens," Mahe said. "It's always disappointing and it doesn't really matter that you know the other team."

Michelle Matheson led the Aggies, tying her career-high kills with 20 and recording a career-high nine blocks. Matheson also led both teams with a match-high .447 attack percentage.

Out of 57 matches in the series, only two have ever gone to five games and only 12 have gone more than three. BYU is now 9-3 vs. Utah State when the match goes more than three games. BYU is 1-1 in five-game matches against the Aggies. BYU won the only previous five-gamer on Oct. 1, 1977.

In game one, the Cougars got out of the gate slow with the Aggies scoring the first four points. BYU trailed by 10 at 18-8 due in part to seven Cougar hitting errors and only six kills. But the Cougars finally found a rhythm and were able to fight back from the double-digit deficit.

BYU eventually tied game one at 26-all thanks to a 6-0 run in which Utah State's Lisa Borom tried unsuccessfully on three occasions to hit through BYU's right-side block of Nina and Karina Puikkonen. But Borom kept swinging and recorded back-to-back kills to give Utah State the first of four straight points for the 30-26 win. Borom, who had 15 kills in the match, finished game one with seven kills while Nina Puikkonen had six for the Cougars.

Game two was a battle throughout, with 26 ties and lead changes. Sunny Mahe led the BYU effort with seven kills after five in game one. After BYU broke a tie at 29, Mahe finished off the game with a crosscourt kill from the right side for the 31-29 win.

Hitting errors killed the Cougars in the third game as they hit .000 with 11 errors canceling out their 11 kills. After a tie at 13, Utah State ran off three straight points and never trailed, scoring six of the final nine points to take the game 30-23.

BYU's hitting returned in the fourth game, especially from its middles. Nina Puikkonen put down six kills and Jackie Bundy added five to help BYU force a game five with a 30-27 win. BYU hit .312 for the game and Bundy ended it on the second game point with a straight-down kill off a Utah State overpass.

The final game was a point-for-point game, with both teams dueling to the end. The Cougars played tough, but matched their final-game seven kills with seven hitting errors, hitting .000 for the second game of the match. Utah State's Emily Kennedy, who served the final point, transferred from BYU's team in 1999.

The statistics were nearly identical as 19th-ranked BYU hit .182 and Utah State .181. Utah State had 77 kills to BYU's 76 and the Aggies recorded 16 blocks to BYU's 15. BYU totaled 83 digs to USU's 74.

Volleyball Box Score

The Automated ScoreBook

USU Aggies vs BYU Cougars (Nov 29, 2001 at Salt Lake City, Utah)

USU Aggies | ATTACK |SET| SERVE |SRV|DEF| BLOCK |GEN

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

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

3 FLUCKIGER, Shauni... 5| 10 8 35 .057| 0| 1 2| 1| 11| 0 0 0| 0| 11.0

7 NEVES, Chelsi....... 5| 6 1 17 .294| 58| 1 1| 0| 10| 0 5 0| 1| 9.5

9 MATHESON, Michelle.. 5| 20 3 38 .447| 2| 0 3| 0| 6| 3 6 0| 0| 26.0

11 MACKAY, Hailey...... 5| 13 6 27 .259| 2| 0 0| 0| 2| 0 6 1| 0| 16.0

16 BOROM, Lisa......... 5| 15 14 58 .017| 2| 1 2| 0| 7| 0 1 0| 0| 16.5

18 CARTWRIGHT, Erin.... 5| 11 6 36 .139| 0| 1 0| 0| 14| 1 6 0| 0| 16.0

12 KENNEDY, Emily...... 5| 0 0 1 .000| 1| 0 0| 0| 7| 0 0 0| 0| 0.0

14 OLMSTEAD, Heather... 5| 2 0 3 .667| 3| 0 0| 0| 17| 0 0 0| 0| 2.0

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

Totals.............. 5| 77 38 215 .181| 68| 4 8| 1| 74| 4 24 1| 1| 97.0

TEAM ATTACK PER GAME TOTAL TEAM BLOCKS: 16.0

Game K E TA Pct

1 17 7 47 .213 GAME SCORES 1 2 3 4 5 TEAM RECORDS

2 17 8 47 .191 USU Aggies.......... 30 29 30 27 16 20-10

3 14 10 43 .093 BYU Cougars......... 26 31 23 30 14 20-9

4 20 8 51 .235

5 9 5 27 .148

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| 5 4 21 .048| 3| 1 1| 0| 21| 2 1 0| 0| 8.5

5 PUIKKONEN, Karina... 5| 8 3 21 .238| 59| 0 0| 0| 8| 2 5 4| 1| 12.5

9 PUIKKONEN, Nina..... 5| 22 11 54 .204| 1| 0 3| 1| 16| 0 7 0| 0| 25.5

10 BUNDY, Jackie....... 5| 12 8 34 .118| 1| 0 4| 0| 11| 0 3 2| 0| 13.5

12 CRABBE, Uila........ 5| 0 0 1 .000| 1| 0 1| 0| 9| 0 0 0| 0| 0.0

15 MAHE, Sunny......... 5| 16 4 37 .324| 7| 0 1| 1| 14| 1 3 0| 0| 18.5

6 STEELE, Lindsey..... 3| 0 0 0 .000| 0| 0 0| 0| 0| 0 1 0| 0| 0.5

8 BOWERS, Carrie...... 1| 0 0 0 .000| 0| 0 0| 1| 2| 0 0 0| 0| 0.0

11 RICHARDS, Lauren.... 5| 13 10 30 .100| 0| 0 0| 1| 2| 0 0 1| 0| 13.0

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

Totals.............. 5| 76 40 198 .182| 72| 1 10| 4| 83| 5 20 7| 1| 92.0

TEAM ATTACK PER GAME TOTAL TEAM BLOCKS: 15.0

Game K E TA Pct

1 16 10 45 .133 Site: Salt Lake City, Utah (Crimson Court)

2 21 6 40 .375 Date: Nov 29, 2001 Attend: Time: 2:26

3 11 11 38 .000 Referees: Ken Taylor, Marvin Hall, Gina Acker

4 21 6 48 .312 2001 NCAA VOLLEYBALL 1ST ROUND

5 7 7 27 .000