The Cougars open their home schedule Thursday through Saturday with the annual BYU Mizuno Classic, which features two of the top-six teams in the nation. BYU will play host to No. 3 USC, No. 6 Florida, Oral Roberts and Wake Forest. All matches will be held in the Smith Fieldhouse.
All four teams traveling to the Mizuno Classic hold winning records, including USC and Florida with perfect 3-0 records.
BYU will welcome No. 3 USC Thursday at 7 p.m in a match that will be televised on KBYU, channel 11 in Utah, and on BYU Television, a satalitte and cable channel. The Trojans are fresh off an effort in which they claimed the Radisson Hotel Roberts/Nike Classic tournament title by sweeping No. 2 Nebraska on Monday. BYU currently stands 6-9 all-time against the Trojans. The last meeting between the two teams was a Trojan sweep in the 1994 BYU Mizuno Classic (9/16).
On Friday the Cougars will host Oral Roberts at Noon and Wake Forest at 4 p.m. Oral Roberts started the year 2-0 with wins over Dayton and Baylor at the Long Beach State Mizuno Invitational, but fell to the fifth-ranked host team. The Cougars have met the Golden Eagles twice (1997 and 2000). Both matches were in the BYU Mizuno Classic, and the Cougars swept both matches. Wake Forest enters the Mizuno Classic with a 2-1 record on the season. This is the first-ever meeting between BYU and Wake Forest.
The Cougars finish the tournament with a Saturday match-up against No. 6 Florida at 7 p.m. The Gators have won nine consecutive games to open the season in defeating UAB, Rhode Island and No. 21 Illinois. The two teams last met December 10, 1999, when the Gators bounced the Cougars, 3-0, from the NCAA Tournament in the Mountain Regional. BYU is 3-3 all-time against Florida.
After winning its season opener against Gonzaga at the Les Schwab Cougar Classic, BYU dropped a close match to Nevada and was swept by host Washington State last week. The play of senior Allison Larson and freshman Lexi Brown shone at the tournament as each was named to the all-tournament team.
Offensively, the Cougars are led by Larson and April Varner, who are averaging 3.25 and 2.75 kills per game, respectively. BYU is being outhit .143 to .158 and has yet to establish a consistent basis for attack.
Despite the Cougars' offensive maladies, their defense has been staunch. BYU's middle blocking tandem of Carrie Bowers and Lexi Brown average 1.92 and 1.67 blocks per game, respectively. As a team the Cougars are outblocking opponents 45.5-20 this season. Mountain West Conference Co-Defensive Specialist of the Year Uila Crabbe leads the Cougars this year with 4.25 digs per game. Lindsey Metcalf and April Varner are both averaging 3.08 dpg.
On Friday, other matches will feature Wake Forest vs. USC at 10 a.m. and Florida vs. USC at 7 p.m. Saturday matches will pit Florida vs. Oral Roberts at Noon and Oral Roberts vs. Wake Forest at 5 p.m.
This season admission to matches will be $5 for the public and $4 for senior citizens, youth, faculty and students. All Sport Cards will be honored for all regularly scheduled women's volleyball matches. In addition, this year families will be able to attend matches for $10, while wards and groups will be $20. Saturday night's match against Florida is Family Night, and free posters will be available as well as a team autograph signing.
BYU Mizuno Classic
Smith Fieldhouse (5,000)
Thursday, Sept. 5
BYU (1-2) vs. No. 3 USC (3-0) - 7 p.m. - (kbyu-tv/byutv/byu radio)
Friday, Sept. 6
Wake Forest (2-1) vs. USC - 10 a.m.
BYU vs. Oral Roberts (2-1) - Noon
BYU vs. Wake Forest - 4 p.m.
No. 6 Florida (3-0) vs. No. 3 USC - 7 p.m.
Saturday, Sept. 7
Florida vs. Oral Roberts - Noon
Oral Roberts vs. Wake Forest - 5 p.m.
BYU vs. No. 6 Florida - 7 p.m. - (byu radio)