FORT COLLINS -- Using a crowd of 4,112 to their advantage, 15th-ranked Colorado State defeated No. 8 BYU 15-8, 15-13, 15-6 to hand the Cougars their first conference loss of the season and drop their overall record to 14-3.
The Rams hit an outstanding .317 as a team and held the powerful Cougars, who lead the conference in hitting percentage with a .293 percentage going into the match, to a .154 hitting percentage. The win places Colorado State into a first-place tie with the Cougars atop the Mountain West Conference with both teams at 5-1.
"(Colorado State) played extremely well and we played the worst I've seen us play all year," BYU head coach Elaine Michaelis said. "They dug a lot of balls and we didn't hit very well. Nina (Puikkonen) and Al (Anna-Lena Smith) weren't connecting as well as they usually do."
The Cougars, who were without outside hitter Mari Carpenter for two of the three games due to a back injury, were led offensively by Puikkonen, who finished the night with a team-high 12 kills. Sophomore Jackie Bundy had 11 kills and seven blocks while finishing with a team-high .292 hitting percentage.
Sophomore Angela Knopf paced Colorado State with 17 kills and ten digs. Senior Catie Vagneur and sophomore Courtney Cox each finished with 15 kills.
Smith, BYU's All-American setter, finished the night with 37 assists and is now nine assists away from setting the all-time record at BYU held by U.S. National Team setter Charlene Johnson Tagaloa at 5,321. Smith is expected to break the record when the Cougars travel to face Wyoming Saturday.