Whitney Webb and the Utah volleyball team play two matches this week.
Sept. 26, 2005
This Week: A bit of alphabet soup is on the docket this week as the University of Utah volleyball team (9-4, 1-1 Mountain West) plays Mountain West Conference rivals No. 20 BYU (CSTV/AVCA Coaches Poll) and TCU. Action begins as Utah wraps up its four-match road swing at BYU on Wednesday, Sept. 28. The Utes will complete this week's schedule with a home date against TCU on Saturday, Oct. 1. Both matches start at 7 p.m.
Quoting Head Coach Beth Launiere:
On This Week - "BYU is a big match for us. It comes in to play this week having won nine in a row and is playing good volleyball right now. But, I expect a good match. I think it's going to be a normal Utah-BYU match where it's two good teams going after each other."
"I don't know much about TCU. Usually, you get into conference play and you're familiar with your opponents. But, TCU is new to the conference and we haven't played it in years. But, I think they're building a good volleyball program and have some nice wins under their belt this year."
On Last Week - "We are still trying to put the pieces of the puzzle together. Last weekend, like most of the season, we were inconsistent. We need to figure out how to play a complete match. We still have room to get better and we need to become more consistent."
Weekend Recap: The Utes went 2-1 as they saw their five-match winning streak come to an end. Utah topped UVSC (3-1) and Air Force (3-0) before dropping a five-game decision to New Mexico.
Utah out-hit all of its opponents on the week in racking up kills at a .254 clip while holding its opponents to a paltry .097. Defense also shined on the week as the Utes held the advantage, 44-29.5, in blocks.
Shelly Sommerfeldt led the Utes in two of the three matches, bagging 13 kills against UVSC and 22 against New Mexico. Airial Salvo's 16 kills were a team-best against Air Force. Shannon Krug set the attack, averaging 12.08 assists per game.
What's Your 20?: Shelly Sommerfeldt saw her string of four straight matches with double-digit kills (and double-doubles) come to end against Air Force last week. She only netted eight kills and eight digs in the three-game sweep of the Falcons. However, she returned to bag 22 kills in the loss to New Mexico. That ties her season high. Sommerfeldt also had 22 kills in the upset victory over then-No. 17-ranked Santa Clara.
Grand Ol' Time: Speaking of Shelly Sommerfeldt, the senior outside hitter had 43 kills last week. With that, she now has 988 career kills and is 12 shy of reaching the 1000-kill plateau. After last week, she now ranks ninth in career kills (passing former teammate Lyndsey Henderson) and eighth in career attempts (2,658). She is currently racking kills up at a 3.58 per-game rate this year.
"World Wide Webb": Whitney Webb showed she was a valuable asset off the bench last week. The outside hitter played in eight of the 12 games and hit .391 over the three matches. She came in to play libero against UVSC and was second on the team with a career-high nine digs. Against New Mexico, she hit a match- and career-high .409 in bagging a career-best 11 kills on 22 swings with only two errors.
All-Around Effort: Freshman Shannon Krug turned in a gem of a performance in the five-game loss to New Mexico. She dished out 62 assists, the second-best career mark for Krug, in leading the team to a .244 hitting efficiency. Moreover, she had her first career double-double with a career-high 10 digs. She also recorded a career-best five total blocks.
Around the Block: Amie Tingey turned in a solid defensive effort last week. Against UVSC, the middle blocker recorded a season-best eight total blocks. She returned to record six total blocks in the five-game loss to New Mexico. In eight games last week, Tingey tallied 16 total blocks and led the team with 2.00 blocks per game.
Sitting This One Out: Last year's MWC Libero of the Year, junior Connie Dangerfield, will sit out the 2005 season due to a shoulder injury. Four Utes have played libero in Dangerfield's stead this year. Danielle Leichliter, Lacey Lavarias, Kate Robison and Whitney Webb have donned the off-color jersey to play the defense-only position. Robison leads the pack with 3.12 digs per game this season while Leichliter, Lavarias and Webb are all averaging better than 2.00 digs per game as well.
Some Swift Swingin': Lori Baird was third on the team in hitting .364 last week. She also averaged 2.70 kills per game. Her average in the last three matches is buoyed by the fact she hit .714 against Air Force (11 kills, one error, 14 swings). She followed that up with a .310 average against New Mexico. She tagged the Lobos for a career-high-tying 12 kills with three errors on 29 attempts.
The Right Stuff: After allowing then-No. 17 Santa Clara to collect kills at a .249 clip, the Utes' defense has been the proverbial thorn in their opponents' sides. Since then none of Utah's rivals have hit better .150, averaging .097 over the last three matches. New Mexico had the most success last week, hitting .145. UVSC was held to .065 while Air Force mustered a .070 average. UVSC's numbers were the lowest by a Utah opponent this season.
Dynamic Duo: Lori Baird and Amie Tingey proved to be a menacing duo at the net. Baird recorded 18 total blocks (1.80 per game) while Tingey registered another 16 of her own (2.00 per game). The tandem combined to account for 34 of the team's 44 blocks last week and averaged 1.88 blocks together.
News and Notes: 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 ... Utah has hit better than .200 in six straight matches, including a season-best .347 against Air Force last week. The Utes are 5-1 in those last six matches and 8-1 on the year when hitting better than .200 ... On the flip side, opponents are 3-1 when they break the .200 plateau in hitting ... Utah has not been out-blocked in a match yet this season ... the team is 4-0 at home but 5-4 when it leaves Crimson Court ... the Utes have three come-from-behind wins this season (Iowa State, Missouri State and Santa Clara) ... the Utes are 3-2 in three-gamers, 4-0 in four-game matches, and 2-2 in five-game affairs ... this season, Utah is 1-2 in extra-point games ... the Utes began the 2005 season receiving votes in the CSTV/AVCA Coaches Polls. They have received votes in three of the five polls this 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:
BYU - The No. 20-ranked Cougars currently sit atop the MWC with a perfect 2-0 mark. They have yet to lose this season, owning an 9-0 overall mark. Utah has won 10 straight over BYU but the Cougars hold the 53-17 all-time series lead. Lindsy Hartsock leads the team with a .481 hitting average while Chelsea Goodman's 3.92 kills per game is also tops. Also leading the team are Lauren Evans (12.76 assists per game), Lindsey Evans (2.86 digs) and Rachel Dyer (1.03 blocks).
TCU - The Horned Frogs are the newest member to the league and enter conference play this week with a 9-4 overall mark. Not since 1998 and their days in the Western Athletic Conference have these two teams met. Utah holds a 3-0 series lead over TCU. Anna Vaughn leads the team with 4.06 kills, a .353 hitting percentage and 1.12 blocks. Nirelle Hampton is tops in assists (10.06 per game) while Talaya Whitfield leads in digs (3.95).
At the Helm: Beth Launiere is in her 16th season as Utah's head coach. She has a 308-182 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: The Utes return to the road to play a pair of Mountain West Conference rivals. They will be at Wyoming and at Colorado State for a long weekend. The Wyoming match is on Friday, Oct. 7, while the Utes play CSU on Sunday, Oct. 9. The matches start at 7 and 4 p.m., respectively. The CSU match will air nationally as part of CSTV's Sunday Night Spikes.