Volleyball plays one at home, one on the road

(Photo by Jonathan Hardy/BYU Photo)

PROVO, Utah—In the first split week of the season, the No. 16 BYU women’s volleyball team plays one match against Saint Mary’s at home before hitting the road to play Santa Clara.

The Saint Mary’s rematch will start at 7 p.m. MDT Thursday at the Smith Fieldhouse and will be BYU’s Dig Pink match for cancer awareness. The Cougars will face Santa Clara Saturday at 1 p.m. PDT  in Santa Clara, Calif.

BYU is 18-1 on the season, good to tie for the best win-loss record in NCAA Division I volleyball. The Cougars are tied with Penn State, which is ranked No. 1 in the AVCA Coaches Poll. BYU is in second place in the league with a 6-1 record in West Coast Conference play.

Two senior Cougars rank in the top 20 in NCAA stats, with middle blocker Nicole Warner No. 6 for blocks per set (1.62) and setter Heather Hannemann No. 15 for assists per set (11.48). Overall the team ranks No. 1 for hitting percentage (.319) and No. 13 in blocks per set (2.92).

Jennifer Hamson leads the BYU offense with 3.92 kills per set. Libero Tia Withers contributes 2.70 digs per set.

BYU is 7-0 on Elaine Michaelis Court and looks to continue that unbeaten streak against Saint Mary’s. The Gaels handed the Cougars their only loss of the season on Sept. 29, when Saint Mary’s won 3-1 in Moraga, Calif.

Saint Mary’s

The Gaels are 10-8 on the season and 5-2 in conference. Though not ranked, Saint Mary’s has been receiving votes in the AVCA Coaches Poll since Oct. 1. Last week, the Gaels defeated Gonzaga 3-0 Saturday after having a bye on Thursday.

Saint Mary’s leads the series 5-3 after defeating BYU in September.

The Gaels are led by Kristina Graven who averages 3.48 kills per set. Dalas Dodd helps out with 12.22 assists per set (No. 4 in NCAA stats) and Sarah Reams leads the back row with a 3.41 digs average.

Santa Clara

BYU meets Santa Clara for the first time this season after sweeping the Broncos in 2011. The Cougars lead the series 3-0-0 after two 3-0 wins last year.

Santa Clara is 14-7 overall and 4-3 in conference so far. Last week the Broncos fell to Loyola Marymount and Pepperdine. The team has a non-conference match Tuesday against Sacramento State before facing BYU on Saturday.

Taylor Milton leads the Broncos with 2.88 kills per set and Katherine Douglas records 2.44 digs per set. At the net, Lacey Maas leads with 1.57 blocks per set.

How to watch

BYUtv will broadcast the Saint Mary’s match. Live video streaming will be available on BYUtvsports.com. Live streaming and live stat links can be found on the BYU women’s volleyball schedule page.

Fans who wear pink to the Thursday match will be eligible for a $3 ticket.

Live video streaming and live stats for the Santa Clara match are available on the match’s Game Central page.

BYU vs. Saint Mary's Notes