Weekly Release #3 -- BYU Travels to Hawaii

Saturday's match with Hawaii will be broadcast live on the Internet at www.uhathletics.hawaii.edu/

After winning the Mizuno Classic at home last week, BYU will take its longest road trip of the year this week, traveling to Honolulu to face Loyola Marymount University and the University of Hawai'i. The Cougars, tied for 13th in the USA Today/AVCA Top 25 Poll, play the Lions Thursday before taking on No. 12 Hawai'i Saturday in the Stan Sheriff Center.

Loyola Marymount and Hawai'i are both excellent teams that have had to adjust with new players in their lineups early this season. Ranked 24th in the preseason poll, Loyola Marymount has a 4-3 record while Hawai'i is off to a 4-4 start with all four losses coming against top-10 teams, including No. 1 Nebraska.

BYU has a 1-0 series record vs. Loyola Marymount, winning 3-0 in the only meeting in Los Angeles in 1999. The Cougars are 5-12 vs. former WAC foe Hawaii, but have won four of the last seven meetings. The last time the two schools met was in the 1998 WAC tournament title match in Las Vegas. After splitting the season series, the Cougars and Wahine played what many consider to be among the best women's volleyball matches ever played. Hawaii outlasted BYU in a NCAA-record three-hour and 38-minute, five-game marathon that broke 12 WAC tournament records and totaled 175 points. BYU was edged 12-15, 19-21, 15-13, 18-16, 22-24.

"This will be a very challenging week for us," BYU coach Elaine Michaelis said. "Loyola is a very good program. They are in the same mode as we are right now, trying to fill a couple holes from last year but they are a very dangerous team that was ranked in the preseason top 25. Historically, we have had some very good matches with Hawai'i. It's hard to win in Hawai'i. They have wonderful fans, and a lot of them. They play with a lot of confidence with the support of their fans."

THIS WEEK UP CLOSE

Thursday, Sept. 13

No. 13 BYU (5-1) vs. Loyola Marymount (4-3)

Stan Sheriff Center (10,300) o Honolulu, Hawai'i

11 p.m. MDT (7 p.m. local time in Hawai'i)

Saturday, Sept. 15

No. 13 BYU vs. No. 12 Hawai'i (4-4)

Stan Sheriff Center (10,300) o Honolulu, Hawai'i

11 p.m. MDT (7 p.m. local time in Hawai'i)

FOR Live Audio of the BYU at Hawaii match ....

www.uhathletics.hawaii.edu/

LOOKING AT LOYOLA MARYMOUNT

Loyola Marymount returns four starters and nine letterwinners from last year's 20-9 team. The Lions were ranked 24th in the preseason poll and are off to a 4-3 record while working to replace a couple key losses from last season. The Lions Have wins over Oral Roberts (3-1), Clemson (3-2), Indiana (3-1) and New Mexico (3-1). LMU's losses were all against good teams. The Lions lost to common BYU foe Colorado (0-3), upcoming BYU opponent Cal Poly (2-3) and Arizona State (1-3). LMU is 2-0 on a neutral floor this year. The Lions are led by Kristin Gallup, who puts down 4.79 kills per game. LMU is hitting .209 as a team while allowing a .224 attack percentage.

SERIES INFO

BYU has a 1-0 series record vs. Loyola Marymount, winning 3-0 in the only meeting in Los Angeles in 1999.

GENERAL INFO

Location: Los Angeles, California

Enrollment: 7,182

Nickname: Lions

Colors: Crimson and Navy Blue

Facility: Gersten Pavillion (4,156)

Conference: West Coast

VOLLEYBALL INFO

Series Record: 1-0-0

Last Meeting: 1999

Result: BYU (3-0)

Head Coach: Steve Stratos

Overall Record (Years): 232-101 (12)

Record at School (Years): 232-101 (12)

Assistant Coaches: Larry Smoot, Heather Collins

2000 Overall Record: 20-9

2000 Conference Record/Finish: 10-4/3rd

2000 Final Ranking/Post Season

Finish: 25th

PLAYER INFO

Starters Returning/Lost: 9/4

Letterwinners Returning/Lost: 4/2

Top Returners:

Nichole Oehlman, 5-10, So., S

Tiana Newsome, 5-11, So., MB

Top Newcomers:

Diana DiBernardi, 6-0, Fr., MB

Jodi Carlson, 6-2, Fr., OH

SPORTS INFO

Volleyball Contact: Marysol Cayado

Phone: (310) 338-5798

FAX: (310) 338-2703

Courtside Phone: (310) 670-8792

E-mail: mcayado@lmu.edu

Website: www.LMUlions.com

LOOKING AT HAWAI'I

Hawai'i returns three starters and seven letterwinners from last year's Final Four team that finished 31-2. Hawai'i is 4-4 with all four losses coming against top-10 teams, including No. 1 Nebraska. The Wahine also lost to USC (currently ranked No. 5), UCLA (currently ranked No. 8) and Wisconsin (currently ranked No. 9). Hawai'i has wins over No. 22 Kansas State, Michigan, Utah State and Cincinnati. Hawai'i is 4-2 at home this year and 0-2 on a neutral floor. Kim Willoughby leads the Wahine with a 5.81 kills average. As a team, Hawai'i is hitting .228 while allowing a .245 attack percentage.

SERIES INFO

The Cougars are 5-12 vs. former WAC foe Hawaii, but have won four of the last seven meetings. The last time the two schools met was in the 1998 WAC tournament title match in Las Vegas. After splitting the season series, the Cougars and Wahine played what many consider to be among the best women's volleyball matches ever played. Hawaii outlasted BYU in a NCAA-record three-hour and 38-minute, five-game marathon that broke 12 WAC tournament records and totaled 175 points. BYU was edged 12-15, 19-21, 15-13, 18-16, 22-24 by the Wahine.

GENERAL INFO

Location: Honalulu, Hawaii

Enrollment: 16,356

Nickname: Rainbow Wahine

Colors: Green, Black, Silver and White

Facility: Stan Sheriff Center (10, 300)

Conference: Western Athletic

VOLLEYBALL INFO

Series Record: 5-12-0

Last Meeting: 1998

Result: BYU (3-0)

Head Coach: Dave Shoji

Overall Record (Years): 741-139-1 (26)

Record at School (Years): 741-139-1 (26)

Assistant Coaches: Charlie Wade, Kari Anderson

2000 Overall Record: 31-2

2000 Conference Record/Finish: 16-0/1st

2000 Final Ranking/Post Season

Finish: 3rd AVCA

PLAYER INFO

Starters Returning/Lost: 3/3

Letterwinners Returning/Lost: 7/5

Top Returners:

Kim Willoughby, 6-2, So., LS

Maja Gustin, 6-3, So., M

Top Newcomers:

Jennifer Saleaumua, 5-11, Fr., OH

SPORTS INFO

Volleyball Contact: Pakalani Bello

Phone: (808) 956-7523

FAX: (808) 956-4470

Courtside Phone: (808) 956-9408

E-mail: pakalani@hawaii.edu

Website: http://uhathletics.hawaii.edu

BYU BRIEF OUTLOOK

The 2001 Cougars are led by first-team AVCA All-American middle blocker Nina Puikkonen and NCAA All-West Region rightside hitter Sunny Tonga Mahe. Mahe will be a junior in 2001 while Puikkonen is one of three seniors returning with significant court experience. She is joined by fellow seniors Jackie Bundy, an All-MWC middle blocker who finished 12th nationally in blocking last year, and Natalie Whittaker, BYU's top reserve last season. The Cougars also return setter Karina Puikkonen, who earned all-conference honors last year as a freshman. While Michaelis returns four all-conference starters, she will need to replace the services of starting outside hitters Melissa Layton and Kalani Tonga. Reserve middle blocker Alyssa Barrus and backup setter Martha Brinton also won't return in 2001. Both players decided to leave on an 18-month mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, with Barrus to serve in Washington, D.C. and Brinton in Switzerland. Whittaker, junior transfer Allison Holsten Larson and the redshirt freshman tandem of Lindsey Steele and Becky Warnick all are talented players with the potential to fill the void left on the outside. A solid freshmen recruiting class join sophomore Carrie Bowers (middle blocker/rightside hitter), sophomore Uila Crabbe (defensive specialist) and junior Michelle Mahaffey (defensive specialist) to provide Michaelis with a strong supporting cast. Last year, the Cougars were ranked second nationally in blocking and eighth in hitting and should continue to excel in those categories in 2001. With Karina Puikkonen having a year of experience on her resume and setting many of the same hitters, BYU's offense should again be one of the nation's most potent. The Cougar block could be the nation's best with Puikkonen and Bundy in the middle.

FILLING OUTSIDE SPOTS

With four all-conference starters returning, BYU coach Elaine Michaelis has had to replace her two starting outside hitters from last season. Senior Natalie Whittaker has played all 23 games at one outside spot, while redshirt freshman Becky Warnick (15 games) and junior college transfer Allison Larson (12 games) have each seen time on the front row at the other spot. Sophomore defensive specialist Uila Crabbe has played back row in all 23 games this year.

BYU LAST WEEK

BYU defeated Rhode Island Monday, 3-0, before winning the Mizuno Classic with a 3-2 win over No. 23 Colorado and a 3-0 win over Southwest Missouri State. Both the Buffaloes and Bears entered the Mizuno Classic with 3-0 records after winning tournaments the opening week.

POINTS

On the year, Nina Puikkonen leads the Cougars with 115 points (5.00 ppg), followed by Sunny Mahe with 108.5 (4.70 ppg) and Jackie Bundy with 87.0 (3.78 ppg).

MAHE OFF TO HOT START

o After earning all-tournament honors last week at the Point Huskies Invitational, Sunny Mahe earned her first college tournament MVP award this week being selected tournament MVP of the Mizuno Classic. She helped the Cougars to a perfect 3-0 record at home during the week.

o Mahe led the team with 19 blocks (1.73 bpg) and 7 service aces (0.64 sapg) and was second in kills (3.18 kpg) and digs (2.27 dpg). Hitting .400 for the week, Mahe had the best attack percentage among Cougar hitters.

o Mahe led BYU to the Mizuno Classic title, hitting .667 against Southwest Missouri State, recording a match-high 14 kills with only 2 errors in 18 attempts. She also added 9 blocks, 7 digs and a career-best 4 service aces in the win over the Bears. She totaled 22.5 points in three games.

o Mahe recorded 11 kills, 9 digs, 6 blocks, 5 assists and 1 ace in BYU's win over No. 23 Colorado. She hit .421 vs. Rhode Island with 10 kills in 19 attempts with only two errors while contributing 9 digs and 4 blocks.

o Mahe averaged 11.7 kills, 8.3 digs, 6.3 blocks and 2.3 services aces per match in the three contests.

o Mahe totaled 52.0 points for the week, the team's second-highest point output for the week behind All-American Nina Puikkonen's 57.5 points.

o On the year, Mahe is averaging 3.48 kills, 2.09 digs, 1.39 blocks and 0.48 service aces while hitting .358 (80-18-173) in six matches (23 games).

WINNING STREAKS

BYU has a four-match winning streak. The Cougars are 3-0 at home this year and own a 14-match home winning streak dating back to last season. The last team to defeat BYU in the Smith Fieldhouse was nationally ranked Arizona on Sept. 15, 2000.

PLAYER HONORS

BYU's Sunny Mahe earned Mizuno Classic MVP honors while Nina Puikkonen, Jackie Bundy and Karina Puikkonen were selected to the all-tournament team along with Rese McNatt of Southwest Missouri State and Elizabeth Gower and Monique Gerlach of Colorado.

JACKIE BUNDY

Senior middle blocker Jackie Bundy recorded her first career triple-double in BYU's win over No. 23 Colorado last week. She totaled 15 kills, 12 digs and a season-high 10 blocks on the night. For the week, she averaged 3.00 kills, 2.27 digs and 1.64 blocks while hitting .253.

NINA MOVING UP CAREER CHARTS

All-American Nina Puikkonen moved past former Cougar All-American Gale Johnson into fifth place on BYU's all-time kills list with her third kill in BYU's win over Rhode Island on Monday. Despite not being 100 percent yet while recovering from summer surgery on her left leg, Puikkonen totaled 45 kills for the week and now has 1,368 career kills (3.89 kpg career average). She is 387 kills from fourth place. She has 682 career blocks and needs just 13 total blocks to move into second place past Amy Steele Gant. She has 590 block assists, just five shy of passing Gant into second place and has 92 block solos, nine short of overtaking Gant into fourth and 17 shy of taking over third place from Jill Plumb and 42 solos from claiming second place from Raelyn Hogland.

Puikkonen averaged 4.09 kills, 1.64 blocks and 1.55 digs last week, with season-high 10 blocks vs. SMS.

KARINA PUIKKONEN

Sophomore setter Karina Puikkonen had the team's best individual attack percentage for the second straight week, hitting a team-leading .429 percentage while totaling 18 kills (1.64 kpg). She set a new career high with 10 kills vs. Colorado while hitting a match-high .529 with only one error in 17 attempts. She averaged 11.45 assists, 1.55 digs, and 0.82 blocks for the week and set BYU to a .262 team attack percentage.

QUOTING MICHAELIS

ON LOYOLA MARYMOUNT -- "Loyola is a very good program. They are in the same mode as we are right now, trying to fill a couple holes from last year, but they are a very dangerous team that was ranked in the preseason top 25."

ON HAWAI'I -- "Historically, we have had some very good matches with Hawai'i. It's hard to win in Hawai'i. They have wonderful fans, and a lot of them. They play with a lot of confidence with the support of their fans. Hawai'i got an early start on the season and has played some very good teams. They've had time to make some adjustments. We have a difficult task ahead but look forward to the challenge."

2001 HOME ATTENDANCE LEADERS

School (Avg. / Total / Matches)

1. Hawai'i (6,189 / 18,567 / 3)

2. Nebraska (4,146 / 12,437 / 3)

3. Penn State (2,647 / 18,256 / 7)

4. Wisconsin (2,610 / 7,832 / 3)

5. Pacific (2,403 / 12,018 / 5)

6. Florida (2,242 / 6,726 / 2)

7. Texas (1,777 / 1,777 / 1)

8. Illinois St (1,566 / 4,697 / 3)

9. Colorado St (1,560 / 4,680 / 3)

10. BYU (1,452 / 4,355 / 3)

BYU'S MAHE EARNS FIRST MOUNTAIN WEST PLAYER OF THE WEEK AWARD

BYU junior outside hitter Sunny Mahe was named the Mountain West Conference Volleyball Player of the Week Sept. 3, marking the second time overall she has earned the award. A native of Allen, Texas (Allen HS), Mahe led BYU with 45 kills (3.75 per game) and a .330 hitting percentage (45k-11e-103a) as the Cougars posted a 2-1 record at the Washington Tournament in Seattle last weekend. Mahe, who earned all-tournament honors, posted her best numbers of the week in a four-game win against Purdue with a career-high 22 kills, 12 digs, five total blocks and a .724 hitting percentage. She also had nine kills in a sweep of Washington and 14 kills in a five-game loss to Texas. For the week, Mahe racked up 23 digs, (1.92 per game), 13 total blocks (1.08 per game), four aces (.33 per game) and 56.5 points, which ranks second in the MWC.

ELAINE MICHAELIS PROFILE

Now in her 40th year at the helm of the BYU program, Elaine Michaelis also enters her seventh year as Director of Women's Athletics. A proven winner, Michaelis is second all-time in Division I victories with an 872-217-5 record (since records were kept in 1969) and has the most wins ever by a female coach. With BYU's 26-7 record last season, Michaelis posted her 27th consecutive 20-win season and her 29th in 32 years since records have been kept at BYU beginning in 1969. She has never had a losing season. Her team won last year's Mountain West Tournament title after winning the previous season's inaugural MWC regular season title. She has the distinction of winning the inaugural championship in each of the five leagues in which BYU has been a volleyball member. Michaelis is 25-3 in MWC play in two years and now has an overall conference mark of 346-33. She has guided her team to the NCAA tournament 19 times in the 20-year history of NCAA control of the sport, including 11 straight appearances. Her teams have participated in 29 of 32 national tournaments. BYU's two wins last year in the NCAA tournament improved Michaelis' national tournament record to 73-43 (.629). Michaelis is 26-19 (.578) in the NCAA tournament.

SCHEDULE

BYU boasts a typically strong schedule that includes many of the nation's top teams. The Cougars will face 10 teams that qualified for last year's NCAA tournament in a minimum of 12 matches during their 2001 regular season schedule. Eight of those 10 teams won an NCAA tournament match last year with Hawaii advancing to the NCAA Final Four. UC Santa Barbara had its run end with a regional final loss to Hawaii while Long Beach State and Colorado State each earned regional semifinal appearances. Utah, Cal Poly, Colorado, and Utah State made it to the second round while Loyola Marymount and Sacramento State earned a spot in the big dance. Other 2001 non-conference opponents include Texas, who has appeared in 17 of 20 NCAA tournaments and is sixth all-time with 38 NCAA tournament wins, Washington, Purdue, Rhode Island and Southwest Missouri State. BYU will play 12 regular season matches at home, including UC Santa Barbara, and also hosts the 2001 MWC tournament at the Smith Fieldhouse. In addition to the MWC tournament, BYU will host Colorado and Southwest Missouri State in the annual BYU Mizuno Classic. The Cougars also play in the University of Washington's invitational, which also features Texas and Purdue, and travels to Hawaii to face the host Wahine and Loyola Marymount in September. In November, BYU plays in the Long Beach Thanksgiving Tournament, which also includes Cal Poly SLO. The Cougars will play a total of 12 away matches and four neutral site matches to complete its 28-match regular season schedule.

RULE CHANGES

Women's volleyball will take on a different look in 2001 with several new rule changes. The National Association for Girls and Women in Sports, the official rules-making body for women's collegiate volleyball, released the changes in its "2001-2002 NAGWS Official Rules, Interpretations & Officiating Rulebook." The most noticeable difference this season will be the move from sideout volleyball to a rally scoring format where each play will result in a point. The first four games will be scored to 30 points, with the winner holding a two-point lead. The fifth and deciding game will be played to 15 with the winner leading by two points. Other significant changes involve the serve. Players must serve the ball within eight seconds after the referee authorizes service and will not be allowed a second toss for service. Further, the collegiate game will mimic the international game with the let serve. A served ball will remain in play if it hits the net and continues its path to the opposition's court. A service ace can be earned if the ball falls to the opposition's side of the court on the serve, despite contact with the net on service. The international pursuit rule was also added as an experimental rule for the upcoming season, and can be implemented in a match by agreement of both coaches. The rule allows for a player to retrieve a ball (on second contact) that has crossed the plane of the net to the opponent's free space, provided that player does not touch the opponent's court and sends the ball back to their court, over or outside the antennas, for an opportunity for the third contact.

MOUNTAIN WEST CONFERENCE

BYU is a member of the Mountain West Conference. Six of the eight MWC programs have competed in postseason action over the years while the other two programs have only been in competition since 1996. Since the MWC was founded in 1999, BYU, Colorado State and Utah have represented the conference in the NCAA tournament both seasons. Last year all three teams were ranked in the top 20. Overall, BYU has made 19 NCAA appearances and Colorado State has made 12. The reigning Mountain West Conference Tournament Champions, BYU will again be among the top contenders for the MWC title. The Cougars are a slight favorite to edge Colorado State, according to the MWC preseason coaches poll. The Cougars have a 25-3 regular season record in two years of MWC play after finishing second in 2000 with a 12-2 mark. The Cougars won the inaugural regular season title in 1999 with a 13-1 record before finishing second to Colorado State at the MWC tournament. The Rams won the regular season title last year with a 13-1 record, with the lone loss coming at BYU. The Cougars went on to win last year's MWC Tournament title in Fort Collins, Colo., avenging both regular season conference losses with wins over Utah and Colorado State, ending the Rams' nation-best 44-match home winning streak. The Cougars, Rams and Utes were all top-20 teams in 2000 and should again compete for the conference title. San Diego State was on the bubble of the NCAA tournament last year and could factor into the title hunt. BYU will host the 2001 MWC Tournament, Nov. 15-17, at the Smith Fieldhouse in Provo.

MWC PRESEASON VOLLEYBALL COACHES POLL

In a vote of the eight head coaches in the Mountain West Conference, BYU is the favorite to win the 2001 MWC title after earning five first-place votes and 46 points. Colorado State, which finished with three first-place votes and 45 points in the poll, is second, followed by Utah, San Diego State, UNLV, New Mexico, Wyoming and Air Force. Last year's preseason poll foreshadowed the tight race between BYU and Colorado State, which tied for first in the 2000 poll. Colorado State captured the regular season MWC title with a 13-1 record, but the Cougars won a thrilling five-game match over the Rams in the championship match of the McLeodUSA MWC Championship to earn the league's first-ever NCAA automatic bid.

2001 MWC PRESEASON POLL

Rk. Team (1st place votes) Points

1. BYU (5) 46

2. Colorado State (3) 45

3. Utah 37

4. San Diego State 32

5. UNLV 24

6. New Mexico 20

7. Wyoming 12

8. Air Force 9

2000 SEASON SUMMARY

The Cougars won the Mountain West Conference Tournament and were ranked as high as No. 10 in 2000 while advancing to the NCAA Regional Semifinals for the fifth straight season, finishing 26-7. The tournament appearance was BYU's 11th straight and its 19th in the 20 years of the NCAA tournament. With its ninth-place tie in the tournament, BYU recorded its 20th overall top-10 national finish in the 32 years the Cougars have competed at the national level. All seven Cougar losses in 2000 were to teams ranked in the top 20 during the season, including a season-ending loss to No. 5 Arizona in the NCAA Central Regional Semifinals in Lincoln, Neb.

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