Cougars Topple MWC Leader Colorado State

Junior middle blocker Laura Nielsen returned from a broken foot injury Friday to help fuel BYU's upset win over Colorado State. Nielsen hit .643 with 11 kills in her return. (Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)

FORT COLLINS -- An injury-plagued season of struggles has made a pivotal turn for the BYU women's volleyball team as it defeated Mountain West Conference leader Colorado State 19-30, 30-25, 30-27, 24-30, 15-12 Friday night in the Moby Arena. The win evens the Cougars at 3-3 in the MWC and 8-12 overall, while the Rams suffer their first conference loss to fall to 5-1 and 13-7 overall.

"We deserved to win tonight," BYU coach Karen Lamb said. "We didn't play our best match but we fought hard and kept plugging away. It was amazing."

The BYU victory in Fort Collins ended a string of four straight regular season Ram wins over the Cougars in Moby Arena, including three straight Ram sweeps. BYU's last regular season win at Colorado State was a 3-1 triumph in 1995. Overall, BYU's last win over the Rams in Fort Collins was at the 2000 MWC Tournament when the Cougars upset the Rams to win the tournament title.

In addition Colorado State had never lost a conference match at home under the direction of head coach Tom Hilbert. The Rams were a perfect 38-0 since Hilbert's arrival in 1997.

BYU was led Friday by four players with double-digit kills, but it was the return of middle blocker Laura Nielsen, from a broken foot, that fueled the Cougars win. In her first match back since Sept. 20, Nielsen racked up 11 kills on a match-high .643 hitting. She also had a team-high four blocks and chipped in two service aces.

"I can't even begin to explain what Laura did tonight," Lamb said. "She came back so huge. It was great to see."

The Cougars were caught flat-footed in the first game, as the Rams took the game in convincing fashion. Colorado State hit a blazing .371, while holding BYU to a .077 attack percentage.

"We were lucky to get to 19 in that first game," Lamb said. "But we made some adjustments and the girls started to believe we could win as we played the second game. We started to put some pressure on Colorado State and they started to make some errors."

BYU hit .167 and .350 in the second and third games, respectively, as it took a 2-1 lead. The Rams took the fourth game to set-up a decisive fifth game.

The Cougars took the early lead in the last game before the Rams tied it at 12-12, but BYU capitalized on a missed Ram serve to take the match.

For the Cougars April Varner (12), Kim Wilson (12) and Allison Larson (11) also compiled double-digit kills. Varner also had 10 digs for her team-leading eighth double-double of the year.

Carrie Bowers, questionable for the match with various injuries, was strong in the middle with nine kills, six digs, two blocks and a .261 attack percentage. Sahara Castillo contributed a career-high 11 digs in the Cougar win.

The Rams also had four players with double-digit kills. Tess Rogers had a match-high 17 kills, Katie Jo Shirley had 16 kills, Andreya Downs had 15 kills and Michelle Knox had 14 kills.

The Cougars will conclude their road trip by taking on Wyoming Saturday at 7 p.m. MDT, in the MultiPurpose Gym. Wyoming, off to its best start in years, swept No. 16 Utah Friday in Laramie.

Volleyball Box Score

The Automated ScoreBook

BYU vs Colorado State (Oct 18, 2002 at Fort Collins, Colo.)

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

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

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

2 PUIKKONEN, Karina... 5| 7 2 13 .385| 45| 1 1| 0| 7| 0 3 0| 0| 9.5

3 VARNER, April....... 5| 12 12 43 .000| 1| 0 3| 1| 10| 2 0 1| 0| 14.0

7 LARSON, Allison..... 5| 11 8 28 .107| 1| 3 6| 0| 1| 0 2 0| 0| 15.0

8 BOWERS, Carrie...... 5| 9 3 23 .261| 0| 0 1| 0| 6| 0 2 0| 0| 10.0

10 WEBB, Erin.......... 1| 0 1 5 -.200| 1| 0 0| 0| 0| 0 0 0| 0| 0.0

15 WILSON, Kimberly.... 5| 12 4 32 .250| 0| 0 0| 1| 3| 2 0 0| 0| 14.0

5 CASTILLO, Sahara.... 5| 0 0 0 .000| 2| 1 2| 1| 11| 0 0 0| 0| 1.0

12 CRABBE, Uila........ 5| 0 1 1-1.000| 3| 0 0| 0| 8| 0 0 0| 0| 0.0

17 MAHAFFEY, Micelle... 5| 0 0 0 .000| 4| 0 0| 1| 5| 0 0 0| 0| 0.0

18 NIELSEN, Laura...... 4| 11 2 14 .643| 0| 2 2| 0| 0| 1 3 1| 0| 15.5

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

Totals.............. 5| 62 33 159 .182| 57| 7 15| 4| 51| 5 10 2| 0| 79.0

TEAM ATTACK PER GAME TOTAL TEAM BLOCKS: 10.0

Game K E TA Pct

1 13 10 39 .077 GAME SCORES 1 2 3 4 5 TEAM RECORDS

2 9 5 24 .167 BYU................. 19 30 30 24 15 8-12, 3-3 MWC

3 19 5 40 .350 Colorado State...... 30 25 27 30 12 13-7, 5-1 MWC

4 14 9 39 .128

5 7 4 17 .176

Colorado State | ATTACK |SET| SERVE |SRV|DEF| BLOCK |GEN

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

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

4 ROGERS, Tess........ 5| 17 9 47 .170| 0| 0 1| 0| 2| 0 3 0| 0| 18.5

9 COURTNEY, Melissa... 5| 2 3 8 -.125| 60| 1 2| 0| 6| 1 2 0| 0| 5.0

10 SARAUER, Becky...... 5| 8 5 26 .115| 0| 1 0| 0| 3| 0 0 0| 0| 9.0

11 SHIRLEY, Katie Jo... 5| 16 3 24 .542| 2| 0 2| 1| 7| 1 3 1| 0| 18.5

13 KNOX, Michelle...... 5| 14 9 36 .139| 0| 1 5| 0| 10| 2 3 1| 0| 18.5

17 DOWNS, Andreya...... 5| 15 5 26 .385| 3| 1 3| 2| 9| 0 2 0| 0| 17.0

6 DENNETT, Melissa.... 1| 0 0 2 .000| 0| 0 0| 0| 0| 0 1 0| 0| 0.5

8 BAUER, Casey........ 2| 0 1 1-1.000| 0| 0 1| 0| 0| 0 0 0| 0| 0.0

14 KERR, Lindsey....... 5| 0 0 0 .000| 0| 0 0| 1| 12| 0 0 0| 0| 0.0

TEAM................ | | | | 3| | | | 0.0

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Totals.............. 5| 72 35 170 .218| 65| 4 14| 7| 49| 4 14 2| 0| 87.0

TEAM ATTACK PER GAME TOTAL TEAM BLOCKS: 11.0

Game K E TA Pct

1 16 3 35 .371 Site: Fort Collins, Colo. (Moby Arena)

2 16 14 41 .049 Date: Oct 18, 2002 Attend: 1592 Time: 2:13

3 17 8 38 .237 Referees: Verna Klubnikin, Joan Powell

4 18 6 41 .293

5 5 4 15 .067

Tags: Results