PROVO -- The BYU women's volleyball team will continue its Mountain West Conference schedule and complete its four-match road trip as it travels to play at MWC leader Colorado State, Oct. 18, and Wyoming, Oct. 19.
The Cougars are off to a 2-3 start in MWC play and are 7-12 overall. They are coming off a week in which they lost a pair of hard fought matches to instate rivals Utah State and No. 16 Utah.
"Injury and inexperience could be excuses for our record, but I'm not making any excuses" BYU coach Karen Lamb said. "We want to win, but we also want to improve and come together as a team. The losses don't bother me as much, as long as we're competing hard and continuing to improve."
With starting redshirt middle blocker Lexi Brown out for the season with a torn ACL, BYU's other starting middle blocker Carrie Bowers, bothered by a sore foot all season, is questionable for this weekend's play. Converted middle blocker Lindsey Metcalf sprained her ankle against USU and is also questionable. Not all is bad for the Cougars, though, as junior transfer middle blocker Laura Nielsen, sidelined for three weeks with a broken foot, is scheduled to return to action this week.
After flirting with inconsistency all season, sophomore outside hitter April Varner is starting to be a consistent force. Last week she led the Cougars in kills in both their matches against USU (17) and No. 16 Utah (13). She also led the team with a .241 attack percentage and tied for the team lead with 19 total digs. Varner picked up her team-leading seventh double-double against USU with 17 kills and 12 digs.
In the Rams and the Cowgirls, the Cougars will be taking on two rising teams.
Colorado State, No. 18 in the preseason USA Today/AVCA Coaches Poll, has won six of its last seven and is a perfect 5-0 in conference play this season.
The Cougars hold a 42-12-1 all-time mark against the Rams and are 15-8 in Fort Collins. Since running off an 18-match winning streak between 1988-1997, BYU is 3-6 against CSU. The teams met twice last year; both Ram sweeps. CSU has swept BYU only four times in series history.
Wyoming is off to one of its best starts ever under first-year head coach Jim Barnes. The Cowgirls recently had an 11-match winning streak snapped, but have won 12 of their last 14.
BYU holds a 50-3 all-time record versus the Cowgirls, including a 19-2 record in Laramie. The Cougars swept all three meetings last year, and currently enjoy a 25-match winning streak against the Cowgirls dating back to 1990, including a 10-match win streak at Wyoming. BYU has swept the last 12 meetings between the two teams.
"To be successful and win matches this weekend we need to serve and pass well," Lamb said. "We've been blocking and playing solid defense for the most part, but we're getting better offensively. This team will be a late bloomer and there's a real possibility that we will do very well as the season progresses."
The Cougars return home to next week to continue their MWC schedule as they take on UNLV, Oct. 25, and San Diego State, Oct. 26.