PROVO -- With the season nearing an end, the BYU women’s volleyball team is looking to crash the party in the upper half of the Mountain West Conference beginning with matches at UNLV and San Diego State this week. The Cougars (11-10, 4-7 MWC) will face the Rebels on Thursday at 7 p.m. PT (8 p.m. MT) before taking on the Aztecs on Saturday at 1 p.m. PT (2 p.m. MT).
“We need to keep the energy and momentum going we’ve had the past couple weeks,” said BYU head coach Shay Goulding. “We want to be the spoilers to everyone we play, and we want to finish the season strong.”
The Cougars posted their second-straight Mountain West Conference win last week with a victory over TCU on Friday before falling to New Mexico on Saturday in the Smith Fieldhouse. Junior Kayla Walker led the way for BYU on the weekend, including tallying her fourth double-double of the year with 16 kills and 11 digs vs. TCU. Senior Bryn Porter notched her fifth double-double of the season and first since Sept. 12 with 12 kills and 11 digs against New Mexico. Junior Ashton Hansen Hosford also got in the mix with season highs of 13 kills and .632 hitting against the Horned Frogs.
BYU has featured a new line-up over the past three weeks that has improved the play and confidence of the team. Walker has moved from the outside to the rightside with fantastic results as she led BYU in kills and digs last weekend. Sophomore Christina Measom has taken advantage of the opening on the outside to earn the starting job, posting eight kills and four blocks against TCU and six kills with three blocks vs. New Mexico.
The UNLV Rebels are 13-11 overall this season and 6-5 in Mountain West Conference play after losing three straight matches for the first time since 2005. Junior outside hitter Jessica Walters leads the team and ranks fourth in the MWC with 3.23 kills per set, which helps her come in 10th in the league with 3.41 points per set. Senior libero Camille Cunningham paces the conference with 5.07 digs per set, which also ranks 19th nationally. She adds 0.24 aces per set to tie for eighth in the MWC. As a team, the Rebels are 48th nationally with 15.85 digs per set.
The San Diego State Aztecs are 8-13 overall and5-6 in Mountain West Conference play with wins in four of their last seven matches. The Aztecs are led by all-around contributor Lauren Salisbury. The sophomore middle blocker ranks seventh in the league in kills (3.05), third in hitting percentage (.357), fifth in points (3.83) and 10th in blocks (1.04). In MWC play, her blocking tally jumps to 1.20, which is seventh in the conference. Senior libero Michelle Ferrer is sixth in the league with 3.53 digs per set. As a team, SDSU outblocks its opponents, 2.34-2.03, ranking fifth in the MWC in that category.
BYU leads the all-time series with the Rebels 21-5 and owns a 36-17 advantage over the Aztecs. However, both teams beat the Cougars earlier this season.
Fans can follow the action of both Cougar matches this week via GameTracker and CSTV All-Access. Links to these options can be found by going to the schedule page of the BYU women’s volleyball homepage at http://www.byucougars.com/volleyball_w/.