PROVO, Utah -- Highlighted by a win over the Czech National Team, the BYU women's volleyball team recently completed a two-week trip to Europe and Israel in which they finished with a 4-2 record.
The Cougars defeated the Czech National Women's Team in five games, 17-25, 18-25, 25-23, 25-17, 15-8. International scoring was used during each of the matches in which rally scoring to 25, with a 15-point fifth game, is used. In the win Nina Puikkonen led the Cougars with 12 kills and Melissa Layton added 10.
The trip also included two wins over the Israel National Team (3-1, 3-0) as well as a win over VBC Chaseaux, a Swiss club team (3-0). The Cougars suffered losses to Asph Mulhouse, a top club team in France (0-3) and the Czech Junior National Team (1-3).
"We played a long, tough match against the Czech National Team," BYU coach Elaine Michaelis said. "We came back after being down 2-0 and played with a lot of intensity. We were a little tired and less enthusiastic the next morning when we had to play the Junior National Team first thing. Overall, I was impressed with the way some of our younger players performed during the trip. Melissa Layton played really well and should help us next season at rightside hitter with the loss of Korie Rogers."
Rogers was a two-time AVCA All-American that the Cougars lost to graduation.
Michaelis was also impressed with the play of Jackie Bundy and Alyssa Barrus during the trip.
"Jackie and Alyssa really played well in the middle and we look for them to give us some strength at the net next season," Michaelis said.
The trip included visits to Israel, the Czech Republic, France, Italy, Germany, Austria and Switzerland.
"It was a great chance for the girls to spend time together," Michaelis said. "It was a great opportunity to grow closer as a team and I think the trip will prove beneficial as we play this fall."
Near the end of the trip Puikkonen, who led the nation in blocking last season as a freshman, was invited to workout with the United States World University Games Team in Lake Placid, N.Y. as an extended tryout. The World University Games start July 1 in Spain.
BYU will open the 1999 season by participating in the Georgia Invitational Sept. 3-4 in Athens, Ga.