Senior setter Lauren Richards Evans is ranked 18th in the nation in assists. (Photo by Jaren Wilkey/BYU Photo)
PROVO -- BYU will face its toughest test of the 2005 season when the Cougars compete in the Buckeye Classic tournament this weekend, taking on Duke Friday night before facing off against Pittsburgh or No. 14 Ohio State on Saturday. With a 5-0 record and No. 27 national listing, the Cougars are anxious to prove that they belong in the top 25.
"This is another challenging week," said BYU head coach Jason Watson. "Not only do we go on the road, but we are competing against a very talented tournament field. It's a great opportunity for us to compete outside our region. I'm excited to see how we do"
The Cougars are coming off of an exciting but emotional week as they notched two more victories to remain perfect in 2005. After a sweep of Idaho State last Wednesday, BYU took on instate rival Utah State, dropping game one before earning the come-from-behind win. Sophomore outside hitter Chelsea Goodman earned Mountain West Conference Player of the Week honors after averaging 5.14 kills per game for the week, including a career-high 20 against the Aggies.
In order to continue its run through the collegiate volleyball ranks, BYU will first have to get past the 5-1 Blue Devils, who are riding a four-match winning streak. Middle blocker Carrie Demange is currently averaging 4.50 kills per game while outside hitter Tealle Hunkus has picked up 4.14 digs per game this year.
If the Cougars prevail, they will face the winner of Ohio State/Pittsburgh for the tournament title. Tournament-host Ohio State is currently 6-1 and ranked No. 14 nationally with its only loss coming against No. 1 Nebraska. The Panthers are 7-4 on the year, including a 2-2 neutral court record.