Cougars Rally to Win Season Opener Against Gonzaga

PULLMAN -- Playing in its season opener Friday, the No. 23 BYU women's volleyball team started slowly before coming on strong against Gonzaga at the 13th Annual Les Schwab Cougar Challenge. Backed by tide-turning serving and dominating performances from its middle blockers the Cougars came away with a 27-30, 30-27, 30-19, 30-21 win at Bohler Gym.

With the win, first-year Cougar coach Karen Lamb earned her first victory as BYU's head coach, but not without a few tense moments. After losing game one, the Cougars were down 22-25 in the second game, but Michelle Mahaffey substituted for Allison Larson and served the Cougars back into the match.

"We just refused to lose game two," Lamb said. "We could've easily lost that game, but we displayed tremendous poise."

Entering the season opener, uncertainty loomed in the middle for the Cougars after the losses of three-time All-American Nina Puikkonen and three-year starter Jackie Bundy. Carrie Bowers and Lexi Brown dominated offensively and defensively, though, as they picked up where their predecessors left off.

Brown, playing in her first career match, led the Cougars with a .619 attack percentage and eight blocks, while picking up 14 kills and two service aces. Bowers, in her first career start, recorded 11 kills without an attack error to hit .440, while recording six blocks and four digs.

"We started taking advantage of our middles as the match wore on," Lamb said. "Lexi was very composed for playing in her first-ever match, and Carrie also played very well. Our middle was solid."

After committing 13 service errors in the first two games, the Cougars tightened their service game and missed only four serves in the last two games. BYU also compiled seven attack errors in each of the first two games, but sliced that to four as it dominated the third game by hitting .424, while holding Gonzaga to a .000 attack.

After being held to a .000 attack percentage in the first game, Long Beach State transfer April Varner proceeded to rack up 13 kills with a ..324 attack percentage for the match. Varner also tallied 13 digs to record a double-double in her Cougar debut.

Two-time all-Mountain West Conference setter Karina Puikkonen set-up the attack with 43 assists, but she also had six blocks, nine digs and eight kills with a .333 attack percentage. Lindsey Metcalf, making her debut on the rightside, also chipped in with a double-double as she had 15 assists and 12 digs.

For the match Brown, Bowers, Varner and Puikkonen recorded 46 kills while committing only six attacking errors. BYU hit .287 as a team while holding Gonzaga to a .126 attack percentage. The Cougars also outblocked the Bulldogs 15 to 4.

MWC Co-Defensive Specialist of the Year Uila Crabbe was utilized as a libero in the match, and she picked up where she left off last season by recording 16 digs.

"Uila played libero and did a nice job passing to set-up our attack," Lamb said.

Hosted by Washington State University, the tournament features BYU, Gonzaga, Nevada and Washington State. The tournament runs through Saturday when BYU will take on Nevada at 10 a.m. and Washington State at 7 p.m. In addition, Washington State will play Gonzaga at Noon, while Gonzaga takes on Nevada at 5 p.m.

Volleyball Box Score

BYU Cougars 2002 Season

Gonzaga vs BY (Aug 30, 2002 at Pullman, Washington)

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

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

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2 Vagstad, Kari....... 4| 2 2 12 .000| 0| 1 0| 0| 1| 0 0 0| 0

4 Finnerty, Mary...... 4| 9 8 41 .024| 1| 1 2| 0| 10| 0 0 0| 0

9 Paulino, Shawn...... 4| 2 1 10 .100| 37| 0 0| 0| 6| 0 1 0| 3

11 Davis, Christina.... 4| 14 9 38 .132| 1| 0 2| 1| 12| 1 1 0| 0

12 Cullen, Abby........ 4| 16 7 44 .205| 0| 2 2| 0| 2| 0 3 0| 0

13 Kozen, Natasha...... 4| 7 3 14 .286| 2| 0 0| 0| 3| 0 1 2| 0

1 Perry, Missy........ 1| 0 0 0 .000| 0| 0 0| 0| 0| 0 0 0| 0

3 Herrera, Jessica.... 4| 0 0 0 .000| 1| 1 1| 0| 3| 0 0 0| 0

7 Campbell, Laura..... 4| 0 0 0 .000| 1| 0 0| 0| 3| 0 0 0| 0

10 Signor, Heather..... 4| 0 0 0 .000| 0| 0 0| 4| 17| 0 0 0| 0

TEAM................ | | | | 2| | |

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Totals.............. 4| 50 30 159 .126| 43| 5 7| 7| 57| 1 6 2| 3

TEAM ATTACK PER GAME TOTAL TEAM BLOCKS: 4.0

Game K E TA Pct

1 16 6 41 .244 GAME SCORES 1 2 3 4 TEAM RECORDS

2 11 6 32 .156 Gonzaga............. 30 27 19 21 0-1

3 11 11 40 .000 BY.................. 27 30 30 30 1-0

4 12 7 46 .109

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

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

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2 PUIKKONEN, Karina... 4| 8 3 15 .333| 43| 1 2| 0| 9| 0 6 2| 1

3 VARNER, April....... 4| 13 2 34 .324| 1| 1 3| 1| 13| 0 2 1| 0

6 METCALF, Lindsey.... 4| 8 9 31 -.032| 15| 2 2| 1| 12| 0 4 0| 0

7 LARSON, Allison..... 4| 15 8 32 .219| 0| 0 4| 0| 2| 0 4 0| 0

8 BOWERS, Carrie...... 4| 11 0 25 .440| 2| 0 1| 0| 4| 0 6 0| 0

9 BROWN, Alexis....... 4| 14 1 21 .619| 0| 2 4| 0| 0| 0 8 0| 0

12 CRABBE, Uila........ 4| 1 0 1 1.000| 2| 0 0| 2| 16| 0 0 0| 0

17 MAHAFFEY, Michelle.. 4| 0 1 1-1.000| 0| 1 1| 1| 5| 0 0 0| 0

TEAM................ | | | | 0| | |

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Totals.............. 4| 70 24 160 .287| 63| 7 17| 5| 61| 0 30 3| 1

TEAM ATTACK PER GAME TOTAL TEAM BLOCKS: 15.0

Game K E TA Pct

1 14 7 47 .149 Site: Pullman, Washington (Bohler Gym)

2 21 7 43 .326 Date: Aug 30, 2002 Attend: 53 Time: 1:46

3 18 4 33 .424 Referees: Lyman Johnson, Barbara Silvey

4 17 6 37 .297

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