Tracy Neumeier and the Ute volleyball team open conference play at BYU on Friday.
Sept. 20, 2004
What's on Tap?
The No. 23-ranked (USA Today/CSTV) University of Utah women's volleyball team (7-2) will put its four-match win streak on the line when it begins Mountain West Conference action with one match on the docket this week. The Utes venture to Provo to battle Brigham Young University. Match time on Friday, Sept. 24 is set for 7 p.m.
Scouting the Opposition:
BYU (5-4), which is 3-3 at home, is looking to snap a two-match losing streak after dropping contests to UCLA and Saint Mary's last week. Lindsy Hartsock is the team's top hitter and blocker. She owns a conference-leading .417 attack percentage and is tops on the team with 1.73 blocks per game. Kim Wilson leads the team in kills (3.5 per game) while Lindsey Metcalf is tops in digs (2.74) and Lauren Richards in assists (11.86). Karen Curtis Lamb is in her 12th year of coaching, her third as the mentor at BYU. She owns a 238-155 all-time record.
The Utes and Cougars will meet for the 66th time this weekend. BYU holds the all-time series lead, 53-12. However, the Utes have won six straight over their rivals from Provo dating back to 2001. Last year, Utah tallied 3-0 and 3-1 wins over the Cougars. The series dates back to 1975, Utah's first year of women's volleyball.
Quoting Head Coach Beth Launiere:
On BYU: "I'll feel ready for this match at the end of the week. We have to prepare to play a talented BYU team. Opening with it is the toughest way to begin conference play. The Cougars are a great team, they are our rival and we play them at their place. Those are the ingredients for a very good match."
On UCLA, UNC and Saint Mary's: "I am proud of how this team handled last weekend. UCLA was our first 3-2 victory this season. When you get into a tight match like that and succeed, it can only build your confidence.
"Saturday could have been disastrous. But, we came out and took care of business and found a way to win. We saw a lot of positive intangibles from this team last weekend."
The Utes rattled off three straight wins last weekend, topping No. 6-ranked UCLA (3-2), Northern Colorado (3-0) and Saint Mary's (3-1).
UCLA and Utah went back-and-forth in the first match of the Hampton Inn Utah Classic. The Utes snagged the five-game victory by holding UCLA to a mere -.091 hitting percentage in the fifth game. Connie Dangerfield led the Utes by chalking up a match-high 33 digs, one of four to tally double-digit digs for the home team. Lyndsey Henderson's 22 kills and 10 blocks were match-highs while Tracy Neumeier's 34 assists led Utah.
Utah snagged two more wins on day two of the invitational. The Utes had to rally from behind in games two and three to bag the 3-0 win over Northern Colorado. Shelly Sommerfeldt's 14 kills led all players as did Dangerfield's 21 digs. Henderson led at the net with six blocks while Neumeier tallied a team-high 23 assists.
The three-match sweep was complete with a 3-1 defensive struggle over Saint Mary's. Sommerfeldt and Henderson each had a match-high 13 kills while Kelsie Kartchner had a double-double with a career and match-high 20 digs and a team-high 23 assists. Henderson finished with a team-best six blocks.
National Rankings: Lyndsey Henderson is 12th in blocks per game (1.76); Danielle Leichlitier is 30th in aces per game (0.72). As a team, Utah is third in the country in blocks per game (3.59).
Mountain West Individual Stats: Lyndsey Henderson is first in blocks per game (1.76), fifth in hitting percentage (.352) and sixth in kills (3.48); Danielle Leichliter is third in service aces per game (0.45); Amie Toone is fifth in blocks (1.44); Connie Dangerfield is third in digs (4.03); Kelsie Kartchner is ninth in assists (5.91); Tracy Neumeier is eighth in assists (6.06); Emillie Toone is 10th in blocks (1.16).
Mountain West Team Stats: Utah is tops in opponent hitting percentage (.126) and blocks (3.50); second in service aces (2.03) and digs (14.94); it is fifth in hitting (.235) and kills (14.68); sixth in assists (13.24).
Connie Dangerfield was named the Mountain West Conference Player of the Week. The sophomore libero averaged 5.83 digs per game in playing all 12 games last week. Dangerfield set a conference record with 33 digs against then-No. 6 UCLA. She tallied another 21 against Northern Colorado and 16 versus Saint Mary's College. The Salt Lake City native had a career best 17 digs prior to this weekend. She averaged 3.05 digs per game entering the three-match slate last weekend and is now averaging 4.03 digs.
Are You Diggin' This:
Connie Dangerfield set the conference record in helping the Utes tally a 3-2 victory over the No. 6-ranked UCLA Bruins. Dangerfield racked up a career-high 33 digs to set a personal and Mountain West Conference standard. The mark was one shy of the school's five-game record of 34 set by Brenda Barton-Whicker in 1997. (Note: MWC records only date back to 1999.)
Are You Diggin' This - Part 2:
Connie Dangerfield wasn't the only Ute scooping up the digs against UCLA. Setter Tracy Neumeier set a career high with 22 digs herself. The duo combined to tally 55 of the 100 digs against UCLA.
Bring Only Your "A" Game:
Seven Utes set or tied their career highs in the 3-2 win over No. 6 UCLA. In the digs department, Connie Dangerfield (33 digs), Tracy Neumeier (22) and Shelly Sommerfeldt (15) all set new career marks while Kelsie Kartchner (13) tied hers. Lyndsey Henderson set a new personal standard with 22 kills as did Liana Bortoto (14) and freshman Emillie Toone (10). Bortoto had a career best three blocks while Henderson tied her career mark with 10 blocks.
The Utes rallied around their best digging performances in the three matches last weekend. The 61 digs against Northern Colorado was a three-game high this season, the 75 versus Saint Mary's was a four-game high and the 100 digs against UCLA was the five-game high. The 100 digs against the Bruins was nine shy of the school's five-game record. The Utes recorded 109 digs against Santa Clara in 1996.
Utah returns to the USA Today/CSTV coaches poll at No. 23 after a two-week absence. The Utes were No. 24 in the preseason poll ... Saint Mary's is only the second team to out block the Utes, 19.0-14.0 (Long Beach State did also, 13.0-7.0) ... the Utes are still a perfect 5-0 at home but have yet to win a true road match (0-2 on the road, 2-0 on neutral sites) ... Utah is 2-2 against teams mentioned in the USA Today/CSTV coaches poll. It beat No. 6 UCLA (3-2) and Saint Mary's (3-1) which was receiving votes. The Utes dropped matches to Long Beach State (3-1) and UC Irvine (3-2), which were also receiving votes at the time. LBSU is currently No. 18. Three matches still remain against ranked teams (two versus Colorado State, one versus Hawaii) ... Utah is 1-1 in five-game matches, beating UCLA and falling to UC Irvine ... the Utes have played only one extra-point game this year, edging Long Beach State, 31-29.
At The Helm:
Beth Launiere begins her 15th season as the mentor of the Utah women's volleyball program. She owns a 282-173 all-time record. She has led her squad to NCAA Tournament appearances the last six seasons, including a "Sweet 16" showing in 2001. Following the "Sweet 16" showing, Launiere was named the 2001 Tachikara/AVCA Division I West Region Coach of the Year. Launiere's Utes have recorded nine 20-win seasons, and last year, Utah posted a 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.
On the Air:
Radio broadcasts and live video streaming of home volleyball games will be available on the Internet at the official athletics Web site, www.UtahUtes.com. In addition, the Nov. 13 home match against Colorado State will be televised on College Sports TV (CSTV). It will air on tape delay on Nov. 14 at 2:30 p.m. (MST). Check with your local cable or satellite provider for more information on CSTV.
The Utes continue their four-game road swing when they play at Weber State on Tuesday, Sept. 28. Mountain West action continues next weekend when Utah plays at Air Force (Oct. 1) and New Mexico (Oct. 2). All three matches begin at 7 p.m.