Two Home Matches Up Next For BYU

The Cougars will play five of their next seven matches at home, including two contests this weekend.

PROVO -- After playing 10 of its first 14 matches on the road this season, the BYU women’s volleyball team (9-5, 2-3 MWC) returns to the Smith Fieldhouse for a two-week homestand beginning with matches on Thursday against San Diego State and on Saturday against UNLV. Both contests will begin at 7 p.m. and be broadcast live on BYU-TV.

“We are regrouping after our past road trip and look forward to meeting UNLV and SDSU in the Smith Fieldhouse this weekend,” said BYU head coach Shay Goulding.

The Cougars had a disappointing road swing last week as they were swept at New Mexico and TCU. Senior middle blocker Rachel Dyer led the way for the Cougars in both matches with seven kills in each. Sophomore libero Melissa Lake was a bright spot for BYU in her second week of action as the starting libero. She tallied 14 digs at UNM and 15 at TCU, tying for match-high honors, while averaging 4.83 digs per set on the weekend.

Despite the rough weekend, the Cougars still have plenty to smile about, both individually and as a team. BYU is ranked 15th nationally in blocks per set with 2.76, a number bolstered by Ashton Hansen Hosford and Dyer, who rank 16th and 68th, respectively, in that category. The Cougars are also looking forward to playing five of their next seven matches at home, where their attendance average ranks 32nd nationally.

The San Diego State Aztecs are 4-10 overall and 1-3 in Mountain West Conference play with a win at Air Force. SDSU has suffered defeat against New Mexico, TCU and UNLV in league action. The Aztecs are led by all-around contributor Lauren Salisbury. The sophomore middle blocker ranks fourth in the league in kills (3.25), third in hitting percentage (.349), third in points (3.96) and ninth in blocks (1.08). In MWC play, her blocking tally jumps to 1.69, which is second in the conference. BYU is 36-16 all-time against the Aztecs after sweeping the season series last year.

The UNLV Rebels are 10-7 overall this season and 3-1 in Mountain West Conference play with wins over TCU, Air Force and San Diego State and their lone loss coming against New Mexico. Junior outside hitter Jessica Walters leads the team and ranks second in the MWC with 3.48 kills per set, which helps her come in sixth in the league with 3.67 points per set. Senior libero Camille Cunningham paces the conference with 5.24 digs per set, which also ranks 11th nationally. As a team, the Rebels are 32nd nationally with 12.57 digs per set. BYU owns a 21-4 all-time record against the Rebels.

In addition to live coverage on BYU-TV, both matches will also be available on BYU All-Access and GameTracker. Links to these options can be found by going to the schedule page of the BYU women’s volleyball homepage at http://www.byucougars.com/Schedule.jsp?SP=202.

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