Cougars To Host Molten Classic

Senior middle blocker Lindsy Hartsock and the Cougars will host the BYU Molten Classic this weekend, including a match against No. 4 Stanford (Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)

PROVO -- The BYU women's volleyball team will host the BYU Molten Classic this Friday and Saturday in the Smith Fieldhouse, marking the Cougars' home debut. With matches against preseason No. 4 Stanford (1-0), Virginia Commonwealth (2-1) and Texas A&M Corpus Christi (2-1), the Cougars (3-0) will look to continue their solid start to the season and make some noise on the national scene.

"We're looking forward to our home tournament," said BYU head coach Jason Watson. "Last weekend enabled us to identify some areas we need to upgrade. This weekend will provide us an opportunity to measure our improvement in a competitive tournament."

The event will kickoff on Friday at 4 p.m. with Virginia Commonwealth facing Texas A&M Corpus Christi. BYU will take on the Stanford Cardinal, ranked No. 4 in the nation in preseason polls, on Friday night at 7 p.m., a match that will be broadcast on BYU-TV. Saturday's matches begin at 10 a.m. with VCU vs. Stanford and then continue with BYU vs. Texas A&M CC at 12 p.m., Stanford vs. Texas A&M CC at 5 p.m. and then BYU vs. VCU at 7 p.m. to end the tournament.

Preseason tournaments hosted by BYU have been a tradition since 1977. With the exception of two years, 1993 and 1999, the Cougars have hosted at least one tournament each year. Although the name of the marquee event has evolved over the years from the BYU Preview to the BYU Invitational to the BYU Mizuno Classic to the current BYU Molten Classic, the premise has always been the same -- to gather top teams from around the country for intense competition. BYU has now hosted 33 tournaments in 27 years, winning 18 titles along the way. A total of 36 players have won 44 all-tournament awards including 13 MVP selections.

There have been many Cougar highlights, but one of the top moments in BYU tournament history was when BYU upended No. 1 Stanford before defeating No. 2 Long Beach State to take the 2000 tournament title.

BYU began the 2006 season in fine form at the UCF Fall Invitational hosted by the University of Central Florida last weekend. The Cougars brought home the tournament title with three straight sweeps of Florida International (30-28, 30-26, 30-24), UCF (30-25, 30-16, 30-18) and Stetson (30-13, 30-20, 30-25). BYU hit .348 for the week while holding opponents to a .158 percentage.

Junior rightside hitter Erica Lott took MVP honors as she led the team with 15 kills against UCF and 18 against Stetson on .556 hitting. Senior Lindsy Hartsock joined Lott on the All-Tournament team as she hit .593 for the weekend and averaged 1.62 blocks per game.

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