Cougars Live to See Another Day; Win Five-Game Thriller

Lindsey Metcalf was named the player of the game in a thrilling five-game win over UNLV in the first round of the MWC Tournament. Metcalf tied a career-high and had a team-high 17 kills while hitting .239 with two aces, nine digs and four blocks. (Photo by Jaren Wilkey/BYU Photo)

FORT COLLINS -- In a hard-fought match filled with emotion and errors, it was the BYU women's volleyball team that will live to see another day in the Mountain West Conference Tournament with a thrilling 3-2 (26-30, 32-30, 33-31, 16-30, 15-11) first-round win over UNLV Thursday night at the Moby Arena. BYU improves to 13-16 overall while UNLV drops to 10-19.

"It wasn't a pretty match tonight," BYU coach Karen Lamb said. "Both teams played hard, though, and we made plays when we needed to."

UNLV held the lead throughout game one, and saw its biggest lead bulge to six points (12-6 and 13-7), but BYU would chip away and staged a 3-0 run, keyed on kills by Carrie Bowers and Laura Nielsen to move within two points at 17-15. The Rebels would again build up their lead only to have the Cougars fight back to move within one point at 25-24, forcing UNLV to take a timeout. The Rebels came out of the timeout, though, and won five of the next eight points to take the game.

Game two started closely, but after an Allison Larson attack error put the Cougars down 4-6, they reeled off a 13-4 run to take a controlling 17-10 advantage. The momentum began to swing in UNLV's favor, however, as its strong service game put the BYU attack on its heels. Rebel middle blockers Blair Wilkes and Christina Kirschner led the relentless UNLV attack on a key 16-6 run to propel it into a 28-27 lead. BYU quickly regained the lead on kills by Larson and Lindsey Metcalf before taking the game.

The Rebels took a quick 4-1 lead in the third game, but the Cougars would jump out to a two point lead at 11-9 after a Kimberly Wilson kill. From there UNLV would tie the game at 11-11 after two Cougar attack errors, and the game would be tied nine more times as both teams were engaged in a closely contested defensive battle. BYU led by as many as three points and didn't relinquish the lead until the Rebels jumped forward to seize the momentum at 27-26. Indicative of hard play on both sides thoughout the match, BYU would had three game points before winning the game and taking a 2-1 lead on a Patricia Assuncao attack error.

Game four would start off as closely as game three ended, but after exchanging sideout's to tie the 7-7, UNLV's serve picked apart the BYU passing game and Rebel setter Nicki King effectively led the UNLV attack as the Rebels went on a 7-0 run to cruise in taking the game.

"Even though we got pretty bad in that fourth game, I was very confident we were going to win," Lamb said. "We are good at five game matches on the road."

With UNLV grasping the momentum heading into game five, Cougar libero Uila Crabbe made three acrobatic digs to keep the first rally alive before Kim Wilson put down a kill and boost the Cougars to a 1-0 lead. The game would go back-and-forth, and neither team led by more than two points in the early going. BYU fell behind 9-7 as Wilson was blocked by King and Kirschner. The game then turned in BYU's favor on back-to-back kills by Wilson and Carrie Bowers to tie the game at 9-9. Then the BYU block came alive to seal the game for BYU. The Rebels went to Leiana Oswald four times down the stretch and she was denied each time by a BYU blocking wall. Bowers and Wilson also contributed kills on BYU's 6-2 run to seal the match.

"The girls made some timely blocks and serves in the fifth game that were crucial," Lamb said. "We have to beat three teams to win the tournament and that's how we're approaching it. If it means we have to win three five-game matches then that's what we have to do."

Metcalf was named player of the game for her 17-kill effort which tied her career-high and was a team-high on the night. She also hit a team-high .239 while also contributing two aces, nine digs and four blocks. It was the second time this year BYU has had five players with double-digit kills as Wilson had 15, Larson 12, Bowers 10 and Laura Nielsen 10.

Crabbe and Bowers led the BYU defensive effort with a career-high 25 digs and a match-high nine blocks, respectively.

The match was evenly matched in almost all statistical categories as BYU outhit UNLV .156 to .151, had a 70-68 kills advantage and a 14.0 to 13.0 blocks edge. The Rebels out dug the Cougars 80 to 75, while also holding a nine to six ace edge.

BYU will play No. 1 seed Colorado State in a semi-final showdown Friday at 7 p.m. in the Moby Arena. The Cougars have a 1-1 record against the Rams in MWC Tournament matches and hold a 43-13-1 all-time record vs. CSU.

"Against CSU we just need to play our game," Lamb said. "We need to pass and serve well."

"Our goal is to go to the NCAA Tournament," Lamb said. "The girls really want to do that and winning the Mountain West tournament seems to be the only way to achieve that so we're pretty focused."

Game Notes: The Cougars are now 6-2 in five game matches this year and 5-0 in five-game matches against MWC opponents ... BYU was 0-2 on Thursday matches before its win vs. UNLV ... the Cougars are 6-7 in Friday matches this season ... the only other time the Cougars had five players with double-digit kills was Oct. 19 in a five-game win at Wyoming ... the Cougars improved their record to 6-14 when losing the first game of a match ... Metcalf led the team in kills for only the second time and led the team in attack percentage for the first time on the season ... dating back to 1969, the Cougars have never lost a first-round conference tournament match.

Volleyball Box Score

UNLV vs BYU Cougars (Nov 21, 2002 at Fort Collins, Colo.)

UNLV | ATTACK |SET| SERVE |SRV|DEF| BLOCK |GEN

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

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

1 KING, Nicki......... 5| 3 0 5 .600| 55| 5 1| 0| 11| 1 2 0| 1

3 ASSUNCAO, Patricia.. 5| 10 9 29 .034| 2| 1 1| 0| 16| 1 1 0| 0

4 OSWALD, Leiana...... 5| 13 12 66 .015| 1| 2 1| 1| 18| 0 2 0| 0

7 FACHNER, Sarah...... 2| 1 4 10 -.300| 0| 0 0| 0| 1| 0 0 0| 0

11 WILKES, Blair....... 5| 20 3 31 .548| 0| 0 0| 1| 4| 1 3 1| 0

15 KIRSCHNER, Christina 5| 13 5 28 .286| 0| 1 1| 0| 8| 2 3 0| 0

6 MAYES, Tera......... 3| 0 0 0 .000| 0| 0 0| 0| 2| 0 0 0| 0

9 OCASIO-CLEMENTE, She 4| 2 0 9 .222| 1| 0 0| 0| 0| 2 1 0| 0

12 KEITH, Tarin........ 2| 6 5 21 .048| 1| 0 1| 1| 1| 0 0 0| 0

18 FRANCHINI, Nina..... 5| 0 0 0 .000| 1| 0 0| 1| 15| 0 0 0| 0

25 LEWIS, Amy.......... 5| 0 0 0 .000| 0| 0 1| 1| 4| 0 0 0| 0

TEAM................ | | | | 1| | |

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

Totals.............. 5| 68 38 199 .151| 61| 9 6| 6| 80| 7 12 1| 1

TEAM ATTACK PER GAME TOTAL TEAM BLOCKS: 13.0

Game K E TA Pct

1 18 8 46 .217 GAME SCORES 1 2 3 4 5 TEAM RECORDS

2 18 12 54 .111 UNLV................ 30 30 31 30 11 10-19, 6-8 MWC

3 12 9 41 .073 BYU Cougars......... 26 32 33 16 15 13-16, 7-7 MWC

4 16 4 37 .324

5 4 5 21 -.048

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

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

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

2 PUIKKONEN, Karina... 5| 5 3 15 .133| 51| 1 3| 0| 13| 0 4 0| 1

6 METCALF, Lindsey.... 5| 17 6 46 .239| 1| 2 3| 3| 9| 1 3 1| 0

7 LARSON, Allison..... 5| 12 6 27 .222| 4| 1 5| 1| 3| 0 6 0| 0

8 BOWERS, Carrie...... 5| 10 6 26 .154| 1| 1 1| 0| 1| 1 8 0| 0

15 WILSON, Kimberly.... 5| 15 10 55 .091| 0| 0 0| 2| 3| 0 0 1| 0

18 NIELSEN, Laura...... 5| 10 6 32 .125| 0| 0 1| 0| 8| 0 3 1| 0

3 VARNER, April....... 1| 0 0 0 .000| 0| 0 0| 0| 0| 0 0 0| 0

5 CASTILLO, Sahara.... 5| 1 1 3 .000| 0| 1 3| 1| 7| 0 0 0| 0

12 CRABBE, Uila........ 5| 0 0 1 .000| 2| 0 0| 2| 25| 0 0 0| 0

17 MAHAFFEY, Michelle.. 5| 0 0 0 .000| 4| 0 0| 0| 6| 0 0 0| 0

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

Totals.............. 5| 70 38 205 .156| 63| 6 16| 9| 75| 2 24 3| 1

TEAM ATTACK PER GAME TOTAL TEAM BLOCKS: 14.0

Game K E TA Pct

1 16 7 48 .188 Site: Fort Collins, Colo. (Moby Arena)

2 18 9 48 .188 Date: Nov 21, 2002 Attend: Time: 2:35

3 18 10 49 .163 Referees: Joan Powell, Patsy Malta

4 8 8 37 .000

5 10 4 23 .261

Tags: Results