Senior co-captain Lindsy Hartsock ranks 14th in the nation in blocks per game. (Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)
PROVO -- After stepping out of Mountain West Conference play Tuesday night to record its 10th sweep of the season at UVSC, the No. 19 BYU women's volleyball team returns to league action this weekend, hosting TCU on Friday and New Mexico on Saturday in 7 p.m. matches.
"This is an important conference weekend for our program," said BYU head coach Jason Watson. "The process of continual improvement becomes a challenge when facing confident and well-coached conference opponents. TCU and UNM are physical, which will pose some trouble for our team."
At 13-2 overall and 4-1 in the MWC, the Cougars are anxious to return to the friendly confines of the Smith Fieldhouse, where they are 15-1 over the past two seasons. BYU also boasts the seventh-best attendance average in the nation at 2,380 fans per match, bolstered by a Cougar women's volleyball record 4,455 fans last Friday night when BYU squared off against in-state rival Utah.
Injuries are still plaguing BYU as the Cougars could be without the services of top hitter Erica Lott due to back problems and starting setter Amy Schlauder, who is still out with a broken finger. Lott is listed as day-to-day while Schlauder is not expected to be ready until next week. Back-up setter Jenna Judkins suffered a sprained ankle last week but recorded double-doubles against both Utah and UVSC.
The Horned Frogs are 14-4 overall and 3-2 so far this season in Mountain West Conference play, including wins against Wyoming, Air Force and San Diego State and losses vs. Colorado State and UNLV. Junior middle blocker Anna Vaughn currently leads TCU and is sixth in the league with 3.79 kills per game on .349 hitting, fourth in the conference. Vaughn is also fourth in the MWC in blocks in conference play with 1.35. BYU leads the all-time series 7-0, including three wins last season.
The Lobos are 6-10 overall this season and 2-3 so far in Mountain West Conference play with wins against Air Force and San Diego State and losses vs. Wyoming, Colorado State and UNLV. Sophomore outside hitter Jeanne Fairchild leads the Lobo attack with 3.02 kills per game while adding 1.24 digs per game. Sophomore libero Gayle Tripp ranks fourth in the league with 4.57 digs per game. The Cougars are 58-7 all-time against the Lobos and have not lost to UNM since 1995.
Friday night's match will be available live on BYU-TV and then re-aired several times over the course of the following week on the mtn.; the complete broadcast schedule can be found by clicking on the BYU Women's Volleyball 2006 Broadcast Schedule article on the BYU women's volleyball homepage at www.byucougars.com. A live video/audio stream of both matches as well as live stats will be available by going to the Schedule page of the BYU women's volleyball homepage.