Cougars to Play Final Match

All-MWC hitter Lindsey Metcalf is one of three Cougar seniors who will be honored at BYU's last regular-season match Friday night at 7 p.m. in the Smith Fieldhouse. (Photo by Jaren Wilkey/BYU Photo)

PROVO -- The Cougars return home Friday night for what could be their final match of the 2004 season as they face the Eastern Washington Eagles at 7 p.m. At 18-11 on the year with a semifinal loss in last week's Mountain West Conference tournament, BYU needs to get a win this week and hope for an at-large invitation to the NCAA Championships.

"We're playing at a very high level," said BYU head coach Karen Lamb. "We've shown a lot of heart over the last few weeks. We've still got one more match to play and then we'll see what happens."

The match will mark the final home appearance for three Cougar seniors, April Varner, Lindsey Metcalf and Mandi Kiholm, who will be honored.

Varner, a three-year Cougar who transferred from Long Beach State College, leads BYU in digs with 2.61 per game, which also ranks seventh in the MWC. She recorded four double-doubles on the season to reach 15 in her career and with 11 digs against Colorado State in the MWC tournament, Varner reached 500 digs for her career.

All-MWC hitter Metcalf is the Cougars' most versatile athlete, beginning the season at the libero spot and seeing action as a traditional outside hitter before moving to the rightside. She finished sixth in the MWC in digs her junior season and is currently ninth in the league with a .285 hitting percentage. She also recorded her first career triple-double this season with 13 kills, 18 digs and 10 blocks at UNLV. Metcalf was selected to the CoSIDA District VIII Academic All-District team in each of the past two seasons.

A UVSC transfer, Kiholm has provided a spark off the bench in each of her two seasons at BYU. Against UVSC last season, she contributed by combining with Lindsy Hartsock on the match-sealing block and against New Mexico this year, she posted a career-high five blocks while helping BYU secure a victory. Kiholm also saw action in the Cougars' tournament loss to CSU, helping BYU fight back in game four with two kills and two blocks.

BYU will also recognize the winners of the annual "Thanks for Good Sports" contest, which rewards 13 local 5th and 6th graders for their efforts to promote sportsmanship at their respective schools. The winner of the promotion will take home a new bicycle courtesy of Mad Dog Cycle.

In last week's action as the third seed in the conference tourney, the Cougars easily defeated quarterfinal opponent San Diego State Thursday, earning their 11th sweep of the season with the 30-18, 30-28, 30-15 victory. BYU then faced tournament host and nationally-ranked Colorado State in the semifinals. The Cougars and Rams played a nail-biter in the final weekend of the regular-season with CSU finally prevailing in five games, but BYU could not recreate the magic against the Rams in the tournament, losing 30-19, 22-30, 17-30, 25-30.

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