BYU's Erica Lott leads the Mountain West Conference in two statistical categories and is ranked in the top 10 in two others. (Photo by Jaren Wilkey/BYU Photo)
PROVO -- The No. 16 BYU women's volleyball team will hit the road this week for more Mountain West Conference action, facing San Diego State on Thursday and UNLV on Saturday, both at 7 p.m. PST. With a 10-1 overall record and a 2-0 league mark, the Cougars are looking to improve on their start to the 2006 season and continue their defense of the MWC title they won last year.
"Our opening conference road trip is going to be another challenge for our team," said BYU head coach Jason Watson. "Both SDSU and UNLV have been successful this season. They have proven their ability to compete and beat some outstanding programs. I look forward to watching our team respond to this challenge."
Several Cougars have stepped up in a big way to help BYU begin the season atop the MWC. Of the seven overall statistical categories tracked by the league, BYU players lead the conference in four of them (hitting percentage -- Lindsy Hartsock; kills -- Erica Lott; assists -- Amy Schlauder; points -- Erica Lott) and are second in two others (aces -- Chelsea Goodman; blocks -- Lindsy Hartsock). Cougars Chelsea Goodman and Janvier Beaumont are also ranked ninth and tenth, respectively, in digs. In addition to Hartsock pacing the league in hitting percentage, sophomore Rachel Dyer is second and Lott is fourth, helping BYU lead the MWC in that category.
The Aztecs are 6-7 so far this season and 0-1 in the Mountain West Conference after losing their league-opener at UNLV in five games. SDSU has three players ranked in the top 10 of the MWC in kills as all three average more than 3.0 kills per game led by Melanie Greene at 3.68. Junior libero Aime Cordeiro, who was named All-MWC last season, leads the league in digs at 5.74 per game. As a team, the Aztecs hit .201 while allowing opponents to hit .204. BYU is 32-15 all-time against SDSU.
The Rebels are 9-3 so far this season including a 6-1 mark at home and a 1-0 record in MWC play after defeating San Diego State in five games last week. UNLV is led by junior outside hitter Maria Aladjova, who is eighth in the league in kills per game at 3.38. Junior libero Jada Walker averages 5.18 digs per game, second in the league, to help the Rebels lead the MWC in that category with 20.00 dpg. Junior middle blocker Lauren Miramontes aids the UNLV defense with 1.17 blocks per game, sixth in the league. As a team, the Rebels hit .204 while allowing opponents a .172 attack efficiency. BYU is 18-2 all-time against UNLV.
BYU had a busy but successful week last week as the Cougars went 3-0 overall and 2-0 to begin Mountain West Conference play. BYU recorded sweeps of Utah State on Tuesday in Logan and Air Force on Friday in Provo before battling with the Colorado State Rams on Saturday night, finally pulling out a five-game win. The victory marked BYU's first against CSU at home since 2000. Junior rightside hitter Erica Lott had a spectacular night against CSU, recording a career-high 26 kills on .550 hitting while senior middle blocker Lindsy Hartsock posted a season-high 10 blocks. Chelsea Goodman tallied two double-doubles on the week, bringing her season total to six, with 12 kills and 13 digs against the Aggies and 12 kills and 11 digs against the Falcons.
Fans will be able to follow live stats of both matches via GameTracker, which is available by going to the schedule page of the BYU Women's volleyball homepage at http://www.byucougars.com/volleyball_w/. The matches are also tentatively scheduled to be broadcast live over the Internet to all CSTV XXL subscribers.