Friday night is "Senior Night," where BYU seniors Carrie Bowers, along with Uila Crabbe, Laura Nielsen and Sahara Castillo will be honored, before the Cougars' final regular-season match vs. Eastern Michigan. (Photo by Jaren Wilkey/BYU Photo)
PROVO -- In its final regular-season match of the 2003 season, the BYU women's volleyball team will host Eastern Michigan on "Senior Night" Friday at 7 p.m. in the Smith Fieldhouse.
BYU seniors Carrie Bowers, Uila Crabbe, Laura Nielsen and Sahara Castillo will be honored in a ceremony prior to the match.
"Senior night is always bittersweet for our team," BYU coach Karen Lamb said. "We're recognizing players for the great contributions they've made to the program, but we're doing so because they're at the end of their BYU careers."
The Cougars are coming off an early week match against Utah State Tuesday, which they won in thrilling fashion, after storming back from a 0-2 deficit for the third time this year.
BYU (22-8) was led by sophomore middle blocker Lexi Brown's first career double-double, that included a career-high 18 kills and a season-high 10 blocks. Brown has led the Cougars in kills five times this season, and BYU is 5-0 in those matches.
Entering the week, the Cougars were the nation's No. 11 blocking team averaging 3.12 blocks per game.
The Cougars struggled early against the Aggies, but finished strong for the win.
"We have to keep our focus," Lamb said. "It was an outstanding win on Tuesday, but if we would've started better, we wouldn't have been in the position to have to come from 0-2 down.
"Eastern Michigan is a very solid team that plays in a competitive conference. They pursue the ball very well, which helps to keep play alive for them."
BYU put up a season-high 99 digs against the Aggies, but in EMU (21-10), the Cougars will face the second-best digging team in the nation. Entering the week, the Eagles were averaging 20.28 digs per game.
This season has been a tale of half's for the Eagles, who started the year on fire going undefeated in the first seven matches and opening with a 16-1 record overall. Since then, EMU has lost nine of 14 matches and is coming off a loss to Ball State in the Mid-American Conference Tournament quarterfinals.
The Eagles' lone all-conference selection is senior middle blocker Katie Wagenmaker, who averages 2.97 kills, 0.95 blocks and 0.83 digs per game to go with a .273 hitting percentage. EMU is also led by senior outside hitter Jennifer Nighswander. She is averaging 3.41 kpg and a team-high 4.64 dpg.
After the match BYU will wait to see if it receives an at-large berth to the 2003 NCAA Tournament. The NCAA Selection Show will air live Sunday on ESPNews at 6 p.m. (MST). The Cougars have qualified for 20 of 22 NCAA Tournaments.