No. 22 BYU Set to Begin MWC Play

With a 7-0 record, the Cougars will begin Mountain West Conference play this weekend at New Mexico and Air Force. (Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)

PROVO -- After an incredible 7-0 start to the 2005 season, the No. 22 Cougars are ready to open up Mountain West Conference play this weekend, traveling to New Mexico to take on the Lobos Friday night before facing the Air Force Falcons on Saturday night in Colorado Springs.

"This will be our second weekend on the road, but the beginning of a new season as we start Mountain West Conference play," said BYU head coach Jason Watson. "Both New Mexico and Air Force have played a competitive schedule to date and are well prepared. Our team has played well during our non-conference schedule, but this weekend will bring with it a different set of challenges."

BYU owns a 56-7 record over the Lobos, who are currently second in the MWC at 8-2, and have swept 20 of the last 21 matches with the exception being last season's four-game win in Provo. The Cougars are 23-4 over New Mexico in Albuquerque. The Falcons are 4-9 in 2005 and 1-14 overall against BYU. Both matches will begin at 7 p.m. Live stats are available for the Air Force match on the schedule page of the BYU women's volleyball homepage at http://www.byucougars.com/volleyball_w/.

The Cougars are coming off of two big wins as they brought home the Buckeye Classic title in dramatic fashion last week, beating Duke and then-No. 14 Ohio State in five-game matches in Columbus. The win over the Buckeyes for the championship was BYU's first win over a ranked opponent since Sept. 13, 2003 (8th-ranked Penn State). The successful weekend also propelled the Cougars into the national rankings after a three-year absence.

Three Cougars were named to the all-tournament team with junior middle blocker Lindsy Hartsock garnering MVP honors after following up her 12-kill outing against Duke with 20 kills on .500 hitting against the Buckeyes. Sophomores Erica Lott and Lindsey Evans were also named all-tournament as Lott put down a career-high 22 kills against Duke and totaled 41 over the two matches and Evans picked up 27 digs against Duke while totaling 49 for the weekend.

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