Senior middle blocker Lindsy Hartsock ranks in the top 20 nationally in both hitting percentage and blocks. (Photo by Jaren Wilkey/BYU Photo)
PROVO -- The No. 19 BYU women's volleyball team will wrap up the first half of Mountain West Conference play this week as the Cougars travel to Wyoming to face the Cowgirls on Thursday at 7 p.m. With a 15-2 overall record and 6-1 MWC mark, BYU will look to continue moving toward another league title with its 10th win in 11 matches.
"We're excited to go to Wyoming," said BYU head coach Jason Watson. "It will be nice to get on the road and compete against a quality opponent. Wyoming is a well-coached team, one that will compete on every series. This will be another great test for our program."
The Cougars have had plenty of tests recently, the largest of which has been dealing with injuries. After winning the first six matches of the year, including an upset of then-No. 4 Stanford, BYU has not had its starting line up intact since Sept. 7 when setter Amy Schlauder suffered a broken finger. Schlauder, the league leader in assists, returned last weekend to record career highs in both assists (70) and digs (10) while posting the first double-double of her career against New Mexico. Junior rightside hitter Erica Lott also returned last weekend and posted two double-doubles in her first matches back since Sept. 23 after suffering a back injury.
The injury bug is not completely through with the Cougars, however, as sophomore middle blocker Rachel Dyer suffered a foot injury last Thursday and will be out at least two weeks. Dyer currently leads the league and is 13th in the nation in hitting percentage while ranking ninth in the MWC in blocks.
In addition to the return of Schlauder and Lott, junior outside hitter Chelsea Goodman also provided a bright spot for BYU in its three wins last week, earning MWC Player of the Week honors after racking up three double-doubles on the week. She posted a career-high 27 kills against TCU, the most by a Cougar since 2003, while adding 23 against the Lobos and 19 in a sweep at UVSC.
Wyoming is 8-8 overall having lost its last three matches and 2-4 so far in MWC play including sweeps of New Mexico and Air Force. Junior Rachel Smith leads the team and is fourth in the conference in kills per game with 3.92 followed by freshman Annie Meyers at 3.43 kpg, eighth in the MWC. Freshman libero Micah Lines ranks seventh in the league putting up 3.77 digs per game. Senior Andrea Seele leads the Cowgirl blocks with 1.16 per game. As a team, Wyoming hits .198 while allowing opponents a .217 efficiency. The Cowgirls are third in the league in digs with 15.77 per game and fifth in aces with a 1.62 mark.
Fans will be able to follow live stats of the match 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 match is also scheduled to be broadcast live over the Internet to all CSTV XXL subscribers.