Led by Chelsea Goodman's 15 double-doubles, the Cougars will wrap up the regular season this weekend at Colorado State and Air Force. (Photo by Jaren Wilkey/BYU Photo)
PROVO -- With second place in the Mountain West Conference on the line, the No. 20 BYU women's volleyball team will conclude the regular season this weekend at Colorado State on Friday and at Air Force on Saturday. At 22-4 overall and 11-3 in league play, BYU will be playing for seeding in both the MWC and NCAA Tournaments.
"This is a very important weekend for us," said BYU head coach Jason Watson. "We're fighting for second place in the conference, and everything has postseason implications. We're trying to get ready to make a run at the MWC Tournament and solidify a justifiable berth in the NCAA Tournament so we can go deep in that Tournament."
BYU and Colorado State are currently tied for second place in the conference standings with identical 11-3 records. The Cougars currently own the tiebreaker by virtue of a five-game win earlier this season in Provo but could solidify their standing with a win on Friday night. The MWC Tournament will begin on Nov. 23 in Las Vegas.
"I like the way our team is playing right now," said Watson. "I'm excited about our chances as get deeper in the month of November."
After suffering through several injury-plagued weeks that saw three BYU starters forced to miss matches, the Cougars are back to business as usual as the regular season winds to a close. Of the seven overall statistical categories tracked by the league, BYU players lead the league in four of them (hitting percentage -- Lindsy Hartsock; kills -- Chelsea Goodman; assists -- Amy Schlauder; points -- Chelsea Goodman) and are second in one other (blocks -- Lindsy Hartsock). The Cougars have also swept 16 matches this season, including the last three straight. Goodman has recorded an MWC-leading 15 double-doubles on the year out of 25 matches in which she has played. With 31 career double-doubles, she is currently tied for fourth on the MWC's all-time double-double list.
The Rams are 17-7 overall this season and had won 12 straight matches until a five-game setback at UNLV last Sunday. CSU is led by sophomore outside hitter Jaime Strauss, who averages 3.36 kills per game, eighth in the league, while picking up 2.54 digs per game. Freshman Katelin Batten paces the Ram defense with 3.78 digs per game, sixth in the MWC, while freshman middle blocker Tessa Nelson adds 1.15 blocks per game. As a team, the Rams hit .242 while allowing opponents a .156 attack efficiency. BYU defeated CSU in five games earlier this season in Provo.
The Falcons are 3-22 this season and 0-14 in MWC play. The Air Force attack is led by freshman Katie Batchelder at 2.57 kills per game while sophomore outside hitter Kristina Stewart is second with 2.07 kpg. Stewart is also second on the team in digs per game with 2.18 while freshman libero Jaclyn Fleming paces AFA with 3.68. Freshmen Jocelyn Booker and Michele Harrington lead the Falcon block averaging 0.75 blocks per game. As a team, Air Force hits .065 while allowing opponents to hit .268.
Fans of BYU women's volleyball can catch all the action of of the Colorado State match via live stats. The link can be found by going to the Schedule page of the BYU women's volleyball homepage at www.byucougars.com. The Colorado State match will also be aired tape-delayed on the mtn. three times the following week (Nov. 20 -- 9 p.m. MT; Nov. 21 -- 12 p.m. MT; Nov. 22 -- 9 p.m. MT). No live stats or video streaming will be available for the Air Force match.