Cougars Ace Air Force; Utes Up Next

Sophomore middle blocker Lexi Brown led the Cougars with match highs of 12 kills and seven blocks with a .500 hitting percentage. No. 3 seed BYU will play No. 2 seed Utah in the MWC Championship semifinal on Friday at 4 p.m. (PST). (Photo by Jaren Wilkey/BYU Photo)

SAN -- In a first-round match at the Mountain West Conference Championship, No. 3 seed BYU, behind a career-high eight aces from Lauren Richards, swept No. 6 Air Force 3-0 (30-22, 30-20, 30-2 ) Thursday at Peterson Gym. The win improves the Cougars to 21-7, while the loss ends the Falcons' season at 14-15.

BYU collected 13 aces, its second-highest total of the season, and best in a three-game match. The win moves BYU into the semifinals against Utah. This will mark the fourth straight MWC Championship that the Cougars will face the Utes.

The BYU vs. Utah match is tentatively scheduled to be televised live on BYUTV at 4 p.m. (PST), 5 p.m. (MST). The match will also be shown live on KULC (Channel 9) in the Salt Lake City market. There will also be a tape-delay broadcast of the match at 10:30 p.m. (MST) on KBYU-TV.

"We did what we wanted to and won in three games today," BYU coach Karen Lamb said. "There were times we played well, and there were times we didn't, but we served and passed at a high level throughout."

In an offense-filled first game, Air Force struck first, but BYU pulled off a 3-0 run and from there the Cougars held the lead throughout the game. Sophomore setter Lauren Richards put down three straight aces, to give the Cougars an early 10-5 lead. The Falcons would fight back with a 4-0 run of their own behind a pair of kills from Kristin Hamlett. The Cougars then answered with a 5-0 run with kills from Richards, Carrie Bowers and Lindsey Metcalf to take a 15-9 lead. BYU's serve carried play, as the Cougars recorded five aces to one service error. The Cougars hit .444 in the game to the Falcons' .400. Sophomore outside hitter Kim Wilson led BYU with four kills, while Richards collected four aces.

BYU never trailed in the second game and used a decisive 9-2 run to open the game. Freshman middle blocker Lindsy Hartsock started things with an ace and Metcalf helped to sustain the run with a pair of kills. The Cougars then put together an 8-2 run, behind solid blocking and a pair of kills from sophomore middle blocker Lexi Brown, to lead 22-9. Air Force then staged an 11-3 run, as the Cougars committed numerous attack errors, to narrow the BYU lead to 25-20. A Richards kill, which made it 26-20, forced Air Force into a timeout. Out of the timeout, the Cougars scored the final four points to end it, sealed with a pair of Richards aces and a Bowers kill.

BYU started game three on a 10-3 run to take a commanding lead to finish the match. Air Force responded with a 7-0 run of their own, however, to tie the game at 10-10. The game would stay close, until BYU reeled off a 5-0 run to make it 19-13, behind two big Cougar blocks on MWC kills leader Delavane Diaz. The scrappy Falcons squad relentlessly chipped into the Cougar lead with a variety of incremental runs. Air Force closed to within three at 23-20, but BYU closed the game out on a 7-3 run, and the match ended on a Sahara Castillo ace.

The Cougars were led by Brown who recorded match highs of 12 kills, seven blocks and a .500 hitting percentage. Senior libero Uila Crabbe put up a match-high 14 digs and moved into fifth in all-time digs at BYU with 1,058.

Richards, a sophomore setter, also dished out 38 assists and had five blocks, five kills and four digs.

Air Force had two players with double-digit kills, as Molly White and Delavane Diaz had 11 apiece. BYU was out-blocked by an opponent for the first time in eight matches, as the Falcons held an 8-7.5 edge.

BYU will play No. 2 seed Utah in the MWC Championship semifinal Friday at 4 p.m.

"Before the Air Force match, we made sure we didn't look ahead," Lamb said. "We knew that if we won, there was a good chance we'd play Utah. Now we know we're going to play Utah and they'll be our sole focus.

"It's exciting to play them. Every time we play Utah there is intense competition on both sides."

Volleyball Box Score

The Automated ScoreBook

Air Force vs BYU Cougars (Nov 20, 2003 at San Diego, CA)

Air Force | ATTACK |SET| SERVE |SRV|DEF| BLOCK |GEN

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

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

3 HUITT, Kristin...... 3| 1 0 3 .333| 34| 1 1| 0| 6| 0 1 0| 0

7 JEFFERSON, Lamecca.. 3| 6 2 18 .222| 0| 0 2| 3| 5| 0 2 0| 0

10 DIAZ, Delavane...... 3| 11 9 30 .067| 0| 0 1| 2| 5| 0 0 0| 0

11 EDMONDS, Brittany... 3| 1 1 2 .000| 0| 1 1| 2| 7| 0 0 0| 0

13 GALLEGOS, Rebecca... 3| 0 0 3 .000| 0| 1 0| 0| 0| 0 4 0| 0

23 HAMLETT, Kristin.... 3| 7 4 21 .143| 1| 0 3| 0| 2| 0 3 0| 0

2 BURKE, Jenalee...... 3| 0 0 0 .000| 0| 0 0| 4| 7| 0 0 0| 0

4 SIEFKEN, Carly...... 3| 0 0 0 .000| 0| 0 2| 0| 0| 0 0 0| 0

16 WHITE, Molly........ 3| 11 1 21 .476| 2| 0 0| 0| 0| 1 4 0| 0

19 BRYANT, Trier....... 3| 3 1 8 .250| 0| 0 0| 0| 0| 0 1 0| 1

TEAM................ | | | | 2| | |

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

Totals.............. 3| 40 18 106 .208| 37| 3 10| 13| 32| 1 15 0| 1

TEAM ATTACK PER GAME TOTAL TEAM BLOCKS: 8.5

Game K E TA Pct

1 16 4 30 .400 GAME SCORES 1 2 3 TEAM RECORDS

2 9 7 33 .061 Air Force........... 22 20 23 14-15

3 15 7 43 .186 BYU Cougars......... 30 30 30 21-7

BYU Cougars | ATTACK |SET| SERVE |SRV|DEF| BLOCK |GEN

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

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

4 TOGO, Melanie....... 3| 1 0 1 1.000| 1| 0 0| 0| 3| 0 0 0| 0

5 RICHARDS, Lauren.... 3| 5 1 9 .444| 38| 8 3| 0| 4| 0 5 1| 2

6 METCALF, Lindsey.... 3| 6 1 13 .385| 1| 1 0| 2| 12| 0 1 0| 1

8 BOWERS, Carrie...... 3| 5 0 8 .625| 0| 0 0| 0| 1| 0 1 0| 1

9 BROWN, Lexi......... 3| 12 1 22 .500| 0| 0 1| 0| 1| 0 7 0| 0

14 HARTSOCK, Lindsy.... 3| 3 2 8 .125| 0| 2 1| 0| 0| 0 0 1| 0

3 VARNER, April....... 2| 7 4 21 .143| 0| 0 0| 0| 3| 0 1 1| 0

7 WILSON, Kim......... 2| 7 3 11 .364| 0| 0 0| 0| 2| 0 0 0| 0

11 KEARL, Lindsey...... 3| 0 0 0 .000| 1| 1 0| 0| 1| 0 0 0| 0

12 CRABBE, Uila........ 3| 0 0 0 .000| 3| 0 0| 1| 14| 0 0 0| 0

15 CASTILLO, Sahara.... 2| 0 0 0 .000| 0| 1 0| 0| 0| 0 0 0| 0

TEAM................ | | | | 0| | |

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

Totals.............. 3| 46 12 93 .366| 44| 13 5| 3| 41| 0 15 3| 4

TEAM ATTACK PER GAME TOTAL TEAM BLOCKS: 7.5

Game K E TA Pct

1 14 2 27 .444 Site: San Diego, CA (Peterson Gym)

2 13 7 29 .207 Date: Nov 20, 2003 Attend: 307 Time: 1:38

3 19 3 37 .432 Referees: Ken Taylor, Verna Klubnikin

Tags: Results