PROVO -- The BYU women's volleyball team will host its first Mountain West Conference matches of the season against Air Force Friday at 7 p.m. and New Mexico Saturday at 8 p.m. Both matches will be held in the Smith Fieldhouse and the Lobos match will be broadcast on BYU Radio.
The Cougars opened their conference schedule on the road with a loss at San Diego State and a win at UNLV. BYU enters this week's play tied for fourth in the MWC with No. 20 Utah at 1-1 (6-9 overall).
BYU has a new look to its lineup with sophomore Lindsey Metcalf lining up at her third different position this season. In her second match as a middle blocker last week, the 6-foot Metcalf recorded a career-high 17 blocks against UNLV.
Senior Allison Larson is starting to get in a groove and leads the team with 2.69 kills per game. She recorded 16 kills and a career-high 10 blocks in the win over UNLV last week. Junior Karina Puikkonen leads the team in hitting percentage (.340) and assists per game (10.13) while also averaging 1.64 kills, 1.75 digs and 1.15 blocks per game.
BYU has struggled to find consistency in the early going partly because of a revamped lineup due to injury and inexperience, but also as the result of a tough schedule. Four of BYU's losses have come to teams currently ranked in the USA Today/AVCA Coaches Top 25 Poll. The Cougars have lost to No. 1 USC, No. 3 Florida, No. 19 Washington State and No. 25 Texas A&M.
In addition the Cougars lost to Nevada (12-2), which reeled off a nine-match win streak after losing its first match of the year to WSU. The cumulative record of the teams BYU has lost to this year is 82-22 (.789).
Cougar injury report: Redshirt freshman middle blocker Lexi Brown currently has a torn ACL and is out indefinitely. Junior transfer middle blocker Laura Nielsen has a broken foot and is expected to be out at least several weeks.
BYU's opponents this week, Air Force and New Mexico, started its seasons slow, but have been surging of late.
After losing its first seven matches (the worst in team history) to start the season, Air Force has gone 6-2. In their only match last week, the Falcons dropped their conference opener to New Mexico.
Air Force returns all six starters from last year's 2-21 team. With six wins already this season, the Falcons have tripled their win total from last year. Including conference championship matches, the Falcons have lost 36 straight Mountain West Championships. BYU is 8-0 all-time versus Air Force and swept both meetings last year.
Under the direction of first-year head coach, Kelley Sliva, New Mexico also lost its first seven matches to start the season, but has won six of seven matches since then and currently rides a five-match winning streak. The Lobos are coming off wins against New Mexico State and Air Force last week. BYU is 50-7 all-time against New Mexico and swept both meetings last year.
The match will be broadcast live on BYU Radio, which can be accessed through www.byucougars.com, clicking on the women's volleyball link and entering the online schedule or by clicking here.
PARKING NOTICE FOR BYU HOME MATCHES:
Because of construction on the new BYU athletic complex parking procedures have changed, but parking will be available in the lots east of Zion's Bank (accessible from University Avenue and Canyon Drive) and west of the Richards building (accessible from 1230 N. Bulldog Avenue).