Sophomore outside hitter Chelsea Goodman leads the Mountain West Conference in kills per game with 4.00. (Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)
PROVO -- Continuing the longest homestand of the season, No. 15 BYU will take on cross-town rival Utah Valley State College Tuesday night on Elaine Michaelis Court. The Cougars, who are off to their best start since 1977, are looking to improve to 16-0 on the season against the Wolverines, who are 8-9. BYU will complete the week by facing San Diego St. and UNLV this weekend at home.
"This is a challenging week for our program," said BYU head coach Jason Watson. "UVSC is coming off the road after a win over Wyoming. They are a solid team who is playing well right now. Later this week we get our first look at San Diego State and UNLV. Both teams are playing well and will pressure us at home. How we prepare for each match this week will be key."
BYU moved up one place to No. 15 in this week's AVCA/CSTV Top 25 Coaches Poll and are No. 14 in the Volleyball Magazine poll. One of only four undefeated teams in the nation, the Cougars are turning heads nationally as well as locally as recent features in Volleyball Magazine and on espn.com have come their way. Middle blocker Lindsy Hartsock leads the MWC and is second in the nation in hitting efficiency (.469 as of Oct. 11), setter Lauren Richards is pacing the league and is 21st nationally in assists per game (13.04 as of Oct. 11) and Chelsea Goodman leads the conference in kills per game (4.00).
While BYU has played UVSC only three times in the program's history, winning all three, the Cougars and Wolverines have several opponents in common this season. UVSC has suffered defeat at the hands of Kansas, Montana State, Air Force, Idaho State, Utah and Utah State, all teams the Cougars have defeated. The Wolverines split matches this season with Weber State, who BYU will play next Tuesday, and beat Wyoming in five games last weekend, just one week after the Cougars swept the Cowgirls.
The Cougars returned home last weekend to begin the five-match homestand and picked up two more wins to improve to 15-0 on the season, their best start since 1977. BYU swept Air Force (30-19, 30-26, 30-14) and New Mexico (30-15, 30-18, 30-22) and has now recorded sweeps in the last five straight matches.
Sophomore outside hitters Chelsea Goodman and Erica Lott continued their dominance as they each recorded over 4.00 kills per game over the weekend. Four BYU players recorded hitting percentage of .500 or better against the Lobos, led by senior Lexi Brown Patterson, who hit .800. All 14 eligible Cougars saw playing time against the Falcons.
"We feel that everyone on our roster has contributed to our success," BYU coach Jason Watson said. "We wanted to be able to reward some people with playing time. When the opportunity presented itself, we took advantage and were able to have success with those players."