PROVO -- After a stirring run that ended just short of a championship in the Mountain West Conference Volleyball Tournament last week, the BYU women's volleyball team will end its season with matches against No. 2 Hawai'i Tuesday and No. 12 Arizona Friday. Both matches will be played in the Smith Fieldhouse and are scheduled to begin at 7 p.m.
The match against the Rainbow Wahine will be broadcast live on K-BYU (channel 11), BYU-TV and BYU-Radio. A live online video and audio stream of the match will be available through the BYU women's volleyball homepage at www.byucougars.com. The match is also being billed as Blue Hogi Yogi Night and fans can obtain free ticket vouchers to the match at any participating Utah Valley Hogi Yogi's. Friday's match against the Wildcats is Senior Night where BYU senior's Allison Larson and Michelle Mahaffey will be recognized.
The Cougars (14-17) will miss the NCAA Tournament for the just the second time in 21 years and have never had more than 17 losses in a season (In 1979 BYU was 21-17-3).
A season in which five Cougars have seen the injury list and another four have missed parts of the season due to other reasons, BYU has put together an inexperienced lineup against a competitive schedule.
BYU has played seven teams ranked that have been ranked in the USA Today/AVCA Coaches Top 25 poll at some point this season. This weekend's matches will mark the eighth and ninth team's the Cougars have played against top-25 competition this year.
Cougar rightside hitter and all-MWC team selection Larson is finishing the year strong as BYU's most effective offensive threat. She has led BYU in kills in four of its past seven matches, along with team-highs of 10 kills and a .421 attack percentage against Utah in the MWC finals. On the year Larson has led the Cougars in kills 13 times while leading the team in attempts only once. She averages a team-best 2.83 kills per game while hitting .221.
BYU's resurgent play in the MWC Tournament was correlated to their improved defensive play. The Cougars out-blocked all three of their opponents last week by a combined 42.5-24.0. Junior Carrie Bowers led the Cougars with 21 blocks (1.62 bpg) on the week and junior Uila Crabbe led the team with 49 digs (3.78 dpg).
The Rainbow Wahine (28-1), coming off a championship at the Western Athletic Conference Tournament last week, were undefeated until losing to No. 4 Stanford, Nov. 10. They are led by the dynamic junior outside hitting tandem of Kim Willoughby and Lily Kahumoku. All-American Willoughby is second nationally in averaging 6.33 kpg (.368) and Kahumoku a former All-American averages 5.28 kpg (.354).
The Wildcats (16-10) had the top-rated recruiting class of 2001 and have won eight of their past 11 matches after having started the season 8-7. Arizona is led by freshman Kim Glass who leads the team with 4.87 kpg and 0.44 sapg.