Senior Rachel Dyer will take the court with the Cougars this weekend in the 2008 BYU Molten Classic. (Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)
PROVO -- The No. 20 BYU women’s volleyball team will kick off the 2008 season this weekend hosting the annual BYU Molten Classic in the Smith Fieldhouse. The event will feature six matches in total with the Cougars competing Friday night at 7 p.m. against Utah State and twice on Saturday.
“We are opening the season with some great opponents,” said BYU head coach Shay Goulding. “The first big test is in-state rival Utah State on Friday night. We know they will come to play. It will really give us a chance to measure where we are and what we must do to get where we want to go. The girls are ready and anxious to get on the court and to prove themselves.”
In addition to the Cougars and Aggies, Missouri and Tulane will also be playing on Elaine Michaelis Court this weekend. Both teams received votes in the preseason AVCA/CBS College Sports Top 25 Poll while the Cougars are ranked No. 20. BYU leads the all-time series over Utah State, 49-13, while the Cougars have never faced the Tigers or Green Wave.
The Molten Classic will get started on Friday at 4 p.m. with Missouri and Tulane facing off. BYU will then open its season at 7 p.m. against the Aggies. Saturday’s early action will feature Utah State vs. Missouri at 10 a.m. followed by BYU vs. Tulane at 12 p.m. The tournament will conclude Saturday evening with a 5:30 p.m. match pitting Utah State against Tulane and a 7:30 contest between BYU and Missouri.
Senior middle blocker Rachel Dyer, an AVCA All-America honorable mention recipient last season, headlines three returning starters among eight letterwinners from last year’s team that advanced to the NCAA Regional Semifinals. Goulding enters her first season as the head coach at BYU after a highly successful tenure at Salt Lake Community College over the past five years and will be looking to record her first Division I victory on Friday.
BYU is 32-6 all-time in season openers (no match-by-match records for 1971) and has not lost a season opener since 1999. This year marks the first time since 1990 that the Cougars have opened the season at home and just the 13th time overall in the 40-year recorded history of the program. BYU is 10-2 overall when beginning the season in the Smith Fieldhouse.
Live stats will be available for all six matches while the BYU vs. USU contest will be available via Internet video streaming for CSTV XXL and BYU All-Access subscribers. For links to these options, visit the BYU women’s volleyball schedule page on the BYU women’s volleyball home page at http://www.byucougars.com/volleyball_w/.
Friday, 7 p.m. – New Student Night (admission is free for all new BYU students)
Saturday, 12 p.m. – Free admission
Saturday, 7:30 p.m. - $1 admission with football ticket stub; create-a-sign contest (supplies will be provided)