Weekly Release #7 -- BYU Hosts San Diego State, UNLV

No. 14 BYU hosts 10-4 San Diego State Friday in a battle for second place in the Mountain West Conference before facing 5-7 UNLV Saturday. Both matches begin at 7 p.m. Friday's match with San Diego State will be televised on KBYU-TV, channel 11, and BYU-TV, which is available on Dish Network 500, DirectTV, and some cable systems.

The Cougars, 10-2 and 4-1 in the Mountain West Conference, enter the week with an 18-match home win streak, including a perfect 7-0 record in the Smith Fieldhouse this year. BYU is coming off a road split last week, defeating Wyoming before having its nine-match victory string snapped at then-No. 9 Colorado State.

Like BYU, San Diego State is 4-1 in conference play and will be looking for its first win over BYU since 1996. The Cougars lead the overall series with a 23-13 record, including an 11-4 record in Provo. The Aztecs split their matches last week, losing to No. 15 Pepperdine before defeating UNLV.

UNLV is 2-3 in MWC play this year. The Rebels are coming off two losses last week vs. San Diego and San Diego State. In the overall series, BYU has a perfect 8-0 record against UNLV, with four wins at the Smith Fieldhouse.

"This week we face two good teams in San Diego State and UNLV," BYU coach Elaine Michaelis said. "We didn't play very well last week on the road so hopefully returning home in front of our fans will help us play better. We are still young in some areas but I think we will be ready. I feel good about our young players."

THIS WEEK UP CLOSE

Friday, Oct. 12, 2001

No. 14 BYU (10-2, 4-1) vs. San Diego St. (10-4, 4-1)

Smith Fieldhouse (5,000) o Provo, Utah o 7 p.m. MDT o KBYU/BYU-TV

Saturday, Oct. 13, 2001

No. 14 BYU vs. UNLV (5-7, 2-3)

Smith Fieldhouse (5,000) o Provo, Utah o 7 p.m. MDT

OPPONENT NOTES

LOOKING AT THE AZTECS

San Diego State is 10-4 this year and 4-1 in the Mountain West Conference. Like BYU, the San Diego State's lone conference loss was to unbeaten Colorado State. The Aztecs suffered the 0-3 setback at home to the Rams, however, while BYU lost in three games in Fort Collins. Both teams have league wins over Air Force, New Mexico and Wyoming while San Diego State has a win over UNLV and BYU has its fourth win over Utah. The Aztecs other losses have come against Southern Methodist, Loyola Marymount and No. 15 Pepperdine. San Diego is 3-2 away this year, 6-1 at home and 1-1 at a neutral site. San Diego State averages 10.2 aces per match in league contests, including an MWC season-high 14 vs. UNLV. San Diego State hits .255 as a team.

SERIES INFO

The Cougars lead the overall series with a 23-13 record, including an 11-4 record in Provo. BYU has won nine straight in the series. The Aztecs last win (3-2) was in San Diego in 1996. BYU has also won the last nine meetings in Provo, with SDSU last winning 3-1 in an NCAA First Round match in Provo in 1990.

GENERAL INFO

Location: San Diego, California

Enrollment: 29,000

Nickname: Aztecs

Colors: Scarlet and Black

Facility: Peterson Gym (3,668)

Conference: Mountain West

VOLLEYBALL INFO

Series Record:23-13-0

Head Coach: Mark Warner

Overall Record (Years): 101-83 (6)

Record at School (Years): 101-83 (6)

Assistant Coaches: John Ross, John Shirk

2000 Overall Record: 18-14

2000 Conference Record/Finish: 9-5/T-5th

2000 Final Ranking/Post Season

Finish: N/A

PLAYER INFO

Starters Returning/Lost: 3/3

Letterwinners Returning/Lost: 10/3

Top Returners:

Melissa Wright, 5-9, Jr., S

Aspen McPartland, 6-1, So., OH/MB

Top Newcomers:

Rochelle Currier, 6-0, Jr., OH

Katherine Mapes, 6-0, Fr., OH/MB

SPORTS INFO

Volleyball Contact: Farra Levin

Phone: (619) 582-6541

FAX: (619) 582-6541

Courtside Phone: N/A

E-mail: aztecs@sdsu.edu

Website: www.goaztecs.com

LOOKING AT THE REBELS

UNLV is 5-7 overall and 2-3 in the Mountain West Conference. The Rebels have lost four straight to end a four-match winning streak. The Rebels' two league wins are over Air Force and New Mexico, with losses to Colorado State, Wyoming and San Diego State. Sheila Ocasio-Clemente is the nation's leading blocker with an average of 2.16 blocks per game. She posted 10 block assists vs. San Diego last week, followed by nine block assists vs. San Diego State the next night. As a team, UNLV is out blocking its opponents 140.5 to 79 this season. As a team, the Rebels are hitting .213. The Rebels play at No. 18 Utah Friday.

SERIES INFO

BYU has a perfect 8-0 record against UNLV, with four wins at the Smith Fieldhouse.

GENERAL INFO

Location: Las Vegas, Nevada

Enrollment: 23,000

Nickname: Rebels

Colors: Scarlet and Gray

Facility: Cox Pavilion

Conference: Mountain West

VOLLEYBALL INFO

Series Record: 8-0-0

Head Coach: Deitre Collins

Overall Record (Years): 55-83 (5)

Record at School (Years): 55-83 (5)

Assistant Coaches: Andrea Petrilli, Jeff Richards

2000 Overall Record: 6-21

2000 Conference Record/Finish: 5-9/T-5th

2000 Final Ranking/Post Season

Finish: N/A

PLAYER INFO

Starters Returning/Lost: 4/2

Letterwinners Returning/Lost: 8/5

Top Returners:

Leiana Oswald, 6-0, So., OH

Maria Julia Goes, 5-9, Sr., S

Top Newcomers:

Nikki King, 5-9, Fr., S

Rosie Lewis, 5-10, Fr., OH

SPORTS INFO

Volleyball Contact: Brian Albertson

Phone: (702) 895-3764

FAX: (702) 895-0989

Courtside Phone: (702) 895-4600

E-mail: brian.albertson@ccmail.nevada.edu

Website: www.unlvrebels.com

BYU NOTES

BYU's Probable Starters

No. Name. Year Pos.

15 Sunny Mahe Jr. RS

9 Nina Puikkonen Sr. MB

2 Natalie Whittaker Sr. OH

5 Karina Puikkonen So. S

10 Jackie Bundy Sr. MB

11 Lauren Richards Fr. OH

12 Uila Crabbe So. DS

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 is 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. Freshman Lauren Richards could play outside or setter. 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.

BYU LAST WEEK

BYU went 1-1 last week, losing its first conference match of the year at No. 9 Colorado State Saturday. It was the first regular season conference loss since losing at then No. 16 Utah last year on Oct. 6, 2000. All-American Nina Puikkonen shared team-high honors for kills last week with Sunny Mahe, both putting down 22 kills in two matches (3.67 kpg). Sunny Mahe hit a team-best .413 attack percentage for the week. Mahe, who was named the AVCA Sports Imports National Player of the Week for her play the week before, had a mach-high 15 kills with only two hitting errors in 24 attempts in BYU's win over Wyoming. She also added six blocks and four digs. Lauren Richards came out of a redshirt year. She had eight kills in her first two matches playing outside hitter.

THE LOW DOWN

BYU had its second lowest attack percentage of the season (.181) vs. CSU Saturday. The Cougars also recorded season lows of 40 kills, 23 digs and only two blocks while not serving an ace for the first time this year.

1,100 AND COUNTING

BYU coach Elaine Michaelis coached her 1,100th recorded (since 1969) match at CSU last Saturday. She has won 79.7 percent of those matches, with 877 wins. She is second in all-time Division I victories.

STREAKS END

BYU had its nine match win streak end with its loss at CSU. The Cougars also had a string of six straight 3-0 wins ended. Colorado State also ended a string of six straight matches in which BYU held its opponents under a .200 hitting percentage. No team had hit better than .236 (Washington in first match of the year) on the Cougars this year until the Rams hit an impressive .534 Saturday.

STREAKS CONTINUE

The Cougars are 7-0 at home this year and own a 18-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.

THREE AND OUT

BYU has only had three matches all year go beyond three games. The Cougars have eight 3-0 wins and have been swept once. BYU is 1-1 in five-game matches and 1-0 in four-game contests.

POINTS

On the year, Nina Puikkonen leads the Cougars with 199.5 points (4.87 ppg), followed by Sunny Mahe with 198.0 (4.83 ppg) and Jackie Bundy with 170.5 (4.15 ppg).

DOUBLE-DIGITS

Nina Puikkonen has recorded double-digit kills in all 12 matches this year, while Sunny Mahe has reached double figures in 10 of 12, including a streak of 10 straight. Jackie Bundy has reached double-digit kills seven times, including four of the last six matches.

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 filled one spot, playing in all 41 games, while three different Cougars have seen action at the other spot. Freshman Lauren Richards came out of her redshirt season last week to play her first two matches of the year. Redshirt freshman Becky Warnick (22 games) and junior college transfer Allison Larson (15 games) have also seen time on the left side. Sophomore defensive specialist Uila Crabbe has played back row in all 41 games this year.

KARINA PUIKKONEN

Sophomore setter Karina Puikkonen hit .000 last week with five kills. It was the first week this year in which she failed to hit a .400 hitting percentage. She had entered the week among conference and national leaders in hitting with a .473 attack percentage. She set a carer high .667 attack percentage against Utah, with eight kills in 12 dump attempts with no errors. Karina has hit .500 or better in seven of BYU's 12 matches this year and leads the Cougars with a .408 season hitting percentage. She set a career high with 10 kills vs. Colorado while hitting a match-high .529 with only one error in 17 attempts.

NINA MOVING UP CAREER CHARTS

Nina Puikkonen moved into second place on BYU's all-time block assist and total blocks lists in BYU's last home matches. She surpassed former All-American and U.S. National Team player Amy Steele Gant in block assists vs. UC Santa Barbara and then overtook Gant in total blocks vs. Air Force. She needs five more block solos to pass Gant into fourth place in that category. Puikkonen has 705 career total blocks, including 609 block assists. Even though Puikkonen is by far BYU's all-time leader in blocking average (1.91 bpg), she needs another 184 blocks to overtake total blocks leader Dylann Duncan (1985-88) because volleyball teams played more matches each year during Duncan's career. Duncan is second in average (1.63 bpg). Even if BYU played all 35 possible matches this season, Duncan will have played in 29 more matches than Puikkonen during their respective four-year careers. Earlier this year, she 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.

TRIPLE-DOUBLE

Senior middle blocker Jackie Bundy recorded her first career triple-double in BYU's win over No. 23 Colorado. She totaled 15 kills, 12 digs and a season-high 10 blocks on the night.

LAST HOME MATCHES

BYU extended its home winning streak to 18 matches with three 3-0 victories over then-No. 19 UC Santa Barbara, New Mexico and Air Force. BYU hit .367 as a team in its three wins while holding the opposition to a .110 attack percentage. BYU was dominating, averaging 18.44 kills and 15.22 digs compared to its opponent's 10.89 kills and 11.11 digs. BYU also averaged 2.78 blocks per game to 1.39 by its opponents. Three Cougars averaged four kills or better per game during the week. Sunny Mahe would earn AVCA Player of the Week honors with 41 kills (4.56 kpg) and Nina Puikkonen and Jackie Bundy each had 36 (4.00 kpg).Natalie Whittaker averaged a team-best 3.22 digs per game this week while hitting .304 with 19 kills (2.11 kpg). All 10 available players saw action during BYU's three wins. Sophomore middle blocker Carrie Bowers was out with a foot injury.

Mahe Named AVCA and MWC Player of the Week

Mahe Becomes Third Cougar to Ever Earn the National Honor

Sunny Mahe, a 6-2 junior right side/opposite hitter for the 14th-ranked BYU Cougars (9-1), was selected the AVCA/Sports Imports Division I National Player of the Week on Oct. 1. Mahe also garnered Mountain West Conference Player of the Week honors for the second time this year and the third time during her career.

Mahe hit a team-best .554 attack percentage to guide the Cougars to three 3-0 victories last week with wins over then-No. 19 UC Santa Barbara, New Mexico and Air Force. She averaged 4.56 kills, 1.00 blocks, 1.78 digs, 1.11 assists and 0.44 service aces per game. For the week, she tallied 41 kills with just five attack errors on 65 swings.

Mahe charted 12 kills, five blocks, six digs and six assists against UC Santa Barbara while hitting .357. She added 13 kills as part of a .647 attack percentage versus New Mexico, followed by a MWC season-high .750 hitting percentage with a match-best 16 kills on 20 attacks against Air Force. Mahe has topped the .600 hitting percentage mark in a match four times this year.

Mahe has tallied double-digit kills in each of the last nine matches and ranks third in MWC matches for kills per game (4.33) and hitting percentage (.550).

The native of Allen, Texas, is the third BYU player to win the AVCA National Player of the Week award. Current teammate Nina Puikkonen and former Cougar Amy Steele Gant also have won the award, both winning it twice. A first-team AVCA All-American, Puikkonen was the only player in the country to receive the honor twice last season. Gant was recognized in 1996 and 1997.

2001 AVCA Sports Imports Division I National Players of the Week:

Sept. 4 -- Lizzy Fitzgerald, Sr., S, Wisconsin

Sept. 10 -- Amber Holmquist, Jr., MB, Nebraska

Sept. 17 -- No selection

Sept. 24 -- Kim Willoughby, So. OH, Hawai'i

Oct. 1 -- Sunny Mahe, Jr., RS/Opp, BYU

Oct. 8 -- Allison Peckham, Sr., S, Colorado State

2001 Mountain West Conference Players of the Week:

Sept. 4 -- Sunny Mahe, Jr., RS/Opp, BYU

Sept. 10 -- Rachel Lau, Sr., MB, Wyoming

Sept. 17 -- No selection

Sept. 24 -- Angela Knopf, Sr., MB, Colorado State

Oct. 1 -- Sunny Mahe, Jr., RS/Opp, BYU

Oct. 8 -- Allison Peckham, Sr., S, Colorado State

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.

ALL-TOURNAMENT 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. Mahe and Nina Puikkonen also were named to the Point Huskies Invitational All-Tournament Team.

Elaine Michaelis/coaching 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 877-218-5 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 350-34. 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.

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