The Cougars return to the Smith Fieldhouse this Saturday for the first time in 28 days. (Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)
PROVO -- For the first time in 28 days, the No. 24 BYU women’s volleyball team will be playing in the Smith Fieldhouse as the Cougars (8-3, 1-1 MWC) host Air Force (4-9, 0-2 MWC) at home on Saturday. The match will begin at 7 p.m. and be aired on KBYU at 10:10 p.m. and BYUTV at 10:30 p.m. due to the broadcast the General Relief Society Meeting. The match will also be shown Sunday at 2 p.m. on The Mtn.
“It feels good to come home,” said BYU head coach Shay Goulding. “We have been on the road for quite a while now, and we are really looking forward to playing in front of our Smith Fieldhouse crowd.”
BYU has played its last eight matches on the road after beginning the year hosting the Molten Classic. After that, the Cougars played in tournaments at Texas A&M and Wisconsin before opening conference play at Wyoming and Colorado State. Including matches next week at New Mexico and TCU, BYU will play 10 of its first 14 matches this season on the road.
The Cougars began league play last week with a 1-1 record, sweeping Wyoming (25-14, 25-19, 27-25) before falling in three sets (18-25, 20-25, 19-25) at No. 15 Colorado State, the reigning MWC Champions. Senior Rachel Dyer had a phenomenal performance against the Cowgirls as she posted 10 kills on 12 swings for a .833 hitting percentage, tying for the sixth-best single-match attack efficiency in BYU history. Dyer and junior Kayla Walker led the Cougars with 10 kills each. Against the Rams, Walker again paced the team with 12 winners, but BYU struggled offensively in the match, tallying a .077 hitting percentage as CSU racked up 14 blocks in three sets in front of a crowd of 3,667 in Moby Arena.
On the year, senior co-captains Dyer and Bryn Porter rank sixth in the MWC in hitting percentage and kills, respectively. Junior libero Morgan Lloyd, a transfer from Salt Lake Community College, is fourth in the league in digs and third in aces. Junior middle blocker Ashton Hansen Hosford is second in blocks.
The Air Force Falcons are 4-9 overall and 0-2 in conference play so far this year after being swept by UNLV and San Diego State. The Falcons have played all 13 matches at home and will be playing their first road contest of the season on Thursday at Utah before facing the Cougars on Saturday. AFA is led by senior middle blocker Jasamine Pettie at 2.53 kills per set. True freshman Victoria Martinez boasts a team-best 3.06 digs per set, which also ranks seventh in the MWC.
In addition to national coverage on BYUTV, the match will be available on BYU All-Access and GameTracker. Links to both options can be found by going to the schedule page of the BYU women’s volleyball homepage at http://www.byucougars.com/volleyball_w/.
Fans can join the official BYU Women’s Volleyball Texting Group by texting “WVB” to 83043. Members of the group will get updates about game times and special promotions.