Utah volleyball plays three road matches this week.
Sept. 19, 2005
This Week: The University of Utah volleyball team (7-3, 0-0 Mountain West) returns to the road for three matches this week, including a pair of Mountain West Conference meetings. First up for the Utes is Utah Valley State in Orem, Utah, on Tuesday, Sept. 20. Play wraps up with a weekend trip to the Air Force Academy (Friday, Sept. 23) and New Mexico (Saturday, Sept. 24). All three matches begin at 7 p.m.
Quoting Head Coach Beth Launiere:
On This Week - "The win against Santa Clara was a great win for us but we have to get over it and move on because there is still a lot of season ahead of us and we have four big matches this week.
"The next four matches are going to be a tough swing for us and we can't take anyone lightly. Air Force and New Mexico play well at home and will be fired up to begin conference play on their court."
On Wrapping Up the Nonconference Season - "We are better today than we were at the beginning of the year. I've seen a lot of improvement not only in our individuals and team, but in role development as well. I am pleased to see the progress that we've made since the beginning of the year, but I don't think we've reached our potential."
Weekend Recap: The Utes extended their winning streak to three matches as they went 2-0 and won the Hampton Inn Utah Classic last weekend.
Utah topped Idaho, 3-1 (30-19, 29-31, 30-28, 30-22), and No. 17-ranked Santa Clara, 3-2 (22-30, 30-20, 30-27, 28-30, 15-13).
The Utes hit a smooth .291 for the match and were led by Shelly Sommerfeldt who hit a season high .486 in racking up 20 kills and 17 digs. The Utes held Idaho to hitting .135 and out blocked the Vandals, 13-7. Lori Baird's nine total blocks led the way for Utah.
No. 17 Santa Clara couldn't keep pace with Utah as the Utes hit a swift .275 (to SCU's .249) in the five-game upset victory over the Broncos. Sommerfeldt was the difference again as she hit .298 in collecting a season-high 22 kills. Utah out-blocked SCU, 10.5-9, and were led by Baird's five total blocks.
Double-Double Duo: The senior-freshman tandem of Shelly Sommerfeldt and Airial Salvo have been quite a one-two offensive punch for the Utes thus far this season. Sommerfeldt has had five double-doubles in the last six matches. During that run, she recorded a season-high 22 kills against No. 17 Santa Clara and had a career-best 19 digs against Utah State. Not to be outdone, newcomer Salvo has had a double-double in seven of the season's 10 matches, that run includes a similar string of five double-doubles in the last six outings.
That's Hot: Shelly Sommerfeldt was unstoppable in her two matches last week. The senior captain had back-to-back double-doubles including a season-high 22 kills against No. 17-ranked Santa Clara. But, more impressive is the fact that she led the Utes to two victories in racking up 4.67 kills per game and hit an eye-popping .381. She also chipped in on defense in scooping up a team-high 3.56 digs per game.
Net Minder: Freshman Lori Baird gave opponents fits last weekend, leading the Utes with 1.67 blocks per game. She had a career-high nine total blocks in the win over Idaho and stymied the Santa Clara offense to the tune of five total blocks, three of which were block solos.
Tourney Savvy: The Utes saw three of their spikers honored at the Hampton Inn Utah Classic last weekend. Shelly Sommerfeldt snagged tournament MVP honors while Kathryn Lovell and Lacey Lavarias earned all-tournament team nods.
Fountain of Youth: The team's top four hitters are of either freshman or sophomore standing. Lori Baird is the most efficient hitter in netting kills at a .306 clip. Classmates Airial Salvo (third, .246) and Kathryn Lovell (fourth, .242) also rank among the top on the team. Sophomore Emillie Toone is the lone returner to rank near the top. She's second on the team with a .268 hitting average.
Reserve Duty: The reserves came off the bench last weekend and proved to be Utah's difference-makers. Redshirt freshman Lacey Lavarias took the court in game two of the Santa Clara match as the libero and tallied 11 digs, the second best on the team. Freshman Kathryn Lovell came off the bench in the SCU match to not only bag a career-high-tying 14 kills and hit .333, she also slowed down SCU's freshman phenom, Anna Cmaylo, who was hitting over .700 without an error until going up against Lovell. Karlie Porter also came off the bench to set the attack against Idaho and racked up a career-high 35 assists in leading the team to a .291 hitting percentage.
Hitting on All Cylinders: The Utes hit .282 for the weekend. Utah hit a blistering .291 against Idaho and returned to hit a smooth .275 against No. 17 Santa Clara. Those numbers are the second- and third-best efforts since the Utes pounded out kills at a .316 clip in the season-opening win over Idaho State. But, Utah's defense wasn't too shabby last weekend either. It out blocked opponents, 23.5-16, and held them to a paltry .194 hitting. That number is buoyed by the fact that Idaho hit .135 against Utah.
A Helping Hand: Shannon Krug had a career outing in the five-game win over No. 17 Santa Clara last weekend. The freshman setter dished out a career-high 64 assists and led the team to a .275 hitting percentage. Last weekend, the Colorado Springs, Colo., native averaged 12.00 assists per game in seven games. For the season, her average improved to 10.97.
News and Notes: Utah has hit better than .200 in five of the last six matches. The lone sub-.200 performance during the run was a .158 average in the loss to Arkansas. Utah hit .291 against Idaho, the best since it hit .316 against Idaho State ... Utah has had as many or more team blocks than its opponents in all 10 matches this season. It is out blocking its rivals, 122-83.5 ... Utah is 1-2 against ranked teams this season. It beat No .17 Santa Clara, 3-2, and lost to No. 9 Tennessee and No. 21 Missouri, both by a 3-0 count ... the Utes have not lost a match this season when hitting over .200. They are 6-0. On the flip side, opponents are 3-1 when they break the .200 plateau in hitting ... the team is 4-0 at home but 3-3 when it leaves Crimson Court ... the Utes have two come-from-behind wins this season (Missouri State and Iowa State) ... Utah has played five State schools, going 5-0 in those matches (Idaho State, Weber State, Utah State, Iowa State and Missouri State) ... this season, Utah is 2-1 in both extra-point games and five-game matches ... Utah is 4-1 in Mountain West Conference openers. Last year, it beat Brigham Young, 3-1, as part of its record-setting 12-match win streak. Moreover, Utah started the MWC season 13-0 in going a record-breaking 13-1. ... the Utes began the 2005 season receiving votes in the first two CSTV/AVCA Coaches Polls of the season ... Utah was picked to finish second in the MWC preseason coaches poll. It received three first-place votes and finished two points behind the preseason favorite, Brigham Young.
Scouting the Opponents:
Utah Valley State - The Wolverines are 4-5 on the year and have won two straight matches. Tuesday marks the third meeting between these two schools with Utah owning the 2-0 lead. Jessica Endres leads with 3.22 kills and 0.78 blocks per game. Also leading the team are Lacee Koelliker (11.44 assists per game) and Maegan Hoyt (4.65 digs).
Air Force - Utah owns a 15-0 all-time record over the Falcons, who are 4-9 on the year. AFA enters action this week having lost in four of its last five. Kristin Hamlett leads the team with 4.14 kills and 1.09 blocks per game. Carly Siefken's 10.30 assists and Kim Kallabis' 2.50 digs also lead the Falcons.
New Mexico - The 8-2 Lobos have won six straight in entering action this week. Utah is 34-26 all-time against UNM. Leading the team are Nicole Ryan (3.54 kills per game), Sarah Kwasigroch (11.58 assists), Kim Cox (3.11 digs) and Kelly Therkelsen (1.18 blocks).
At the Helm: Beth Launiere is in her 16th season as Utah's head coach. She has a 306-181 career record. She has led her squad to NCAA Tournament appearances the last seven seasons, including a "Sweet 16" showing in 2001. Following her "Sweet 16" run, Launiere was named the 2001Tachikara/AVCA Division I West Region Coach of the Year. Launiere's Utes have recorded nine 20-win seasons, and last year, Utah posted a then-school-record 12 conference victories. A native of Grand Rapids, Mich., Launiere graduated from Aquinas College and was an assistant at Ferris State and Illinois before taking over the Ute program in 1990.
See Red: There are 12 home matches at Crimson Court this year. To see some of the best volleyball in the nation, contact the Utah ticket office at (801) 581-UTIX or by visiting www.UtahTickets.com.
On the Air: Fans can follow the Utes on the internet this season. By going to volleyball Web page at www.utahutes.com, you can watch and listen to Utah matches as they are streamed live across the Web. In addition to the internet, the Sunday, Nov. 9, match at Colorado State will be televised live on CSTV as part of its Sunday Night Spikes programming.
Up Next: Conference play continues with a road match and a home match next week. Utah completes a four-game road swing at Brigham Young on Wednesday, Sept. 28. Then, the Utes renew their rivalry with TCU when it comes to town on Friday, Sept. 30. Both matches begin at 7 p.m.