Lindsey Mecalf and Carrie Bowers lead the Cougars into play at the SMS Dr. Mary Jo Wynn Invitational in Springfield, Missouri this weekend. The Cougars will play Arkansas, North Texas, Saint Louis and Southwest Missouri State. (Photo by Jaren Wilkey/BYU Photo)
PROVO -- After finishing 2-1 at the University of Florida tournament last week, the BYU women's volleyball team will again be on the road as it travels to participate in the Dr. Mary Jo Wynn Invitational hosted by Southwest Missouri State University in Springfield, Missouri.
BYU will participate in four matches and play will begin Friday when the Cougars take Arkansas (1-2) at 2:30 p.m. (CDT) and North Texas (3-0) at 7 p.m. On Saturday, BYU will play Saint Louis (2-2) at 2:30 p.m. and SMS (2-1) at 7 p.m.
"Our goal this week is to raise our offensive output and keep teams to low offensive outputs," head coach Karen Lamb said. "We'll get more consistent offensively as the season goes on, but it's one of our focuses right now."
Senior rightside hitter Carrie Bowers was named Mountain West Conference Player of the Week after her breakout performance last week. She averaged 5.00 kills per game, 1.70 dpg and 0.70 bpg, while hitting .443.
"Carrie did a great job for us making plays out of sets that weren't perfect," Lamb said. "As our service reception and passing improve, though, we'll be able to stay within our system and provide better opportunities for our hitters."
April Varner, Kim Wilson and Lindsey Metcalf are vying for time on the outside, and in the middle Lindsy Lewis-Hartsock, Laura Nielsen and Lexi Brown have all split time. The Cougars are deep and competition has helped to bring out the best in the players.
With the Cougars slated to play four matches in two days, BYU's depth will be tested, but the team is looking forward to the challenge.
"It's a lot to prepare for prepare for as a staff and as a team, but we'll be ready," Lamb said. "We want to win four matches, anything less will be disappointing."
Week #1 in Review ...
BYU participated in the Campus USA Credit Union Invitational, hosted by the University of Florida, and finished the week 2-1. The Cougars opened their season last Friday against 2002 NCAA Tournament team American, and came out with a four-game victory behind a career-high 22 kills from Carrie Bowers. Later that day, BYU swept Rutgers, with Bowers setting a record for hitting percentage (.583).
On Saturday, BYU lost a showdown with No. 3 Florida for the tournament crown. Bowers and Lauren Richards were named to the all-tournament team.
Hopping the Flight to Missouri
The Cougars are taking 12 players on their trip to the SMS Dr. Mary Jo Wynn Invitational in Springfield, Missouri, hosted by Southwest Missouri State University.
Bowers Named MWC Player of the Week
After a sterling debut as a rightside hitter last week, Carrie Bowers was named the MWC Player of the Week on Sept. 2. For the week she averaged 5.00 kills per game, 1.70 dpg and 0.70 bpg. It is the first time she has received the award. Bowers led the Cougars in kills, attempts and hitting percentage (min. 10 attempts) in each match played. In putting down 50 kills, she had just under 1/3 of the team's 151 kills on the Cougars' opening weekend.
Redshirts for 2003
Of BYU's eight incoming true freshman, seven are slated to redshirt the 2003 season. They are: Erica Lott, Catherine Parker, Lindsey Evans, Stacie Powell, Amy Hulse, Annie Kemp and Kimberly Dabo.
After missing the Cougars' season-opening trip to Florida, to attend her sister's wedding, true freshman setter Jenna Judkins will make the trip to Missouri and serve as backup to Lauren Richards.
Best and Worst Starts to a Season
The Cougars' best-ever start to a season is 23-0 in 1977, a year in which they finished 34-5. BYU's worst start to a season is 1979 when it started 0-2. The Cougars have never lost more than two matches in a row to start a season.
Outside Hitting Trio
Lindsey Metcalf, April Varner and Kim Wilson are the Cougars' outside hitting triumvirate and each is expected to see extensive playing time. Last week, each had spurts of consistency and each earned playing time. Wilson provided an offensive spark with 3.43 kpg and a .320 attack percentage. Metcalf was defensive with a team-leading 3.38 dpg average.
It is relatively quiet on the injury front. Lindsey Kearl had been bothered by recurring back pain, and had been practicing, but a sprained ankle sustained in practice last week has prevented her from floor action this week. Erica Lott has been bothered by lower back pain and has not practiced this week.
Roster of Champions
After an unprecedented year in which nine of the 16 players on the roster sustained injury, BYU made it a mandate to recruit additional talent. While at times last year the Cougars didn't have enough players to scrimmage, with the current 21 players on the roster, BYU is not only ensured of having enough players to practice, but the team's competitive level of play in practice has risen.
Young and Experienced
Of the Cougars' nine returning letterwinners, eight have starting experience. Of those eight, all eight have the potential to be All-MWC team selections with playing time.
Richards Ready to Rule
Sophomore setter Lauren Richards is in her first season as BYU's setter. Richards has extensive experience setting with the U.S. Girls Junior National team and U.S. A-2 Women's National teams (2001 and 2002). As she grows more comfortable in her role of controlling BYU's offense, the Cougar attack is expected to improve with each week.