No. 16 Cougars Take on Front Range

The No. 16 Cougars will travel to Colorado State and Wyoming this week. (Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)

PROVO -- The No. 16 Cougars will hit the road this week to take on two more Mountain West Conference opponents as they matchup with Colorado State on Friday night in Fort Collins and Wyoming on Saturday night in Laramie. With an undefeated 11-0 record on the line, BYU is looking to extend its winning streak and move to 6-0 in MWC play.

"This is a very important weekend for our volleyball program," said BYU head coach Jason Watson. "Colorado State and Wyoming are talented teams and both compete at a high level. The challenge this week is to go on the road and build upon what we did last week at home."

A perennial MWC favorite, the Rams are 9-3 overall this year with a 3-0 mark in league play. They lead the league in almost every statistical category, including assists, kills, and blocks, and are also nationally ranked in all three categories, coming in fifth in with 3.65 blocks per game, eighth with 15.44 assists per game and 14th with 16.53 kills per game. CSU is led by senior middle blocker Dre Downs, who leads the league and is 10th in the nation averaging 1.65 blocks per game.

Wyoming is off to a 5-7 start in 2005 with an 0-3 conference mar, having just lost a five-game nail-biter to the Rams. The Cowgirls are second in the league in both aces (2.09) and digs (14.53) and are led by sophomore outside hitter Rachel Smith, who averages 3.40 kills per game.

BYU is 44-18-1 all-time against the Rams but has one just two of the last ten matches, including a loss in the semifinals of last year's conference tournament. The Cougars own a 55-4 all-time advantage over the Cowgirls after splitting last season's series.

The Cougars are coming off an emotional high last week after scoring a victory over in-state rival Utah last Wednesday. The fifth-largest crowd to ever watch a women's volleyball match in the Smith Fieldhouse had plenty to cheer about No. 16 BYU downed Utah 24-30, 30-26, 30-24, and 30-25 on Elaine Michaelis Court. With the win, BYU put an end to Utah's 10-match winning streak against the Cougars dating back to 2001. The Cougars also swept MWC-newcomer TCU on Friday night, improving to 11-0 on the season

"This team has a lot of heart and determination," said Lauren Richards Evans, who recorded her fourth double-double of the year with 52 assists and 10 digs while adding a match-high three service aces. Chelsea Goodman put down a match-best 17 kills while adding a career-high 15 digs for her third-straight double-double outing. Lindsy Hartsock had her best night of the season against TCU, hitting .800.

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