Lori Baird and the No. 12-ranked Utah volleyball team have two matches on tap this week.
Oct. 9, 2006
This Week - Two matches are on tap for the No. 12-ranked University of Utah volleyball team (15-2, 7-0 Mountain West) this week. First, it steps out of conference one last time when it hosts UVSC on Tuesday. The Utes return to league action when they hit the road to play at Wyoming on Saturday. Both matches are at 7 p.m. Utah's home matches are played at Crimson Court, located in room 101 on the lower level of the HPER-East complex.
Quoting Head Coach Beth Launiere:
On This Week: "We appreciate this match and the connections that both Utah and UVSC have. UVSC is a much-improved team and has been consistently getting better since it made the jump to Division I a few years ago.
"A lot of our focus has been on the Mountain West Conference but we have to step out of conference this week and take care of business against a good UVSC team before we head off to Wyoming."
On Winning 13 Straight: "It's nice to be rewarded for the hard work and effort that we have been putting into the season. But, it's also a tribute this team and the consistent level of play it exhibits day-in and day-out."
A "Three"-For-All - The Utes have chalked 15 wins this year. So far, 13 of them have been 3-0 sweeps. The only opponents that made it past three games and still lost were UNLV (3-1 on Sept. 21) and Brigham Young (3-1 on Sept. 29). In all 17 matches this year, only four have gone more than three games. The other two four-game matches this year were Ute losses to then-No. 5 Florida and then-No. 14 USC.
Who Says 13 isn't Lucky? - The Utes have reeled of 13 straight wins, not losing a match since the 3-1 set back to then-No.14 USC back on Sept. 2. The string of wins sets the school record for the longest winning streak, besting the 12-match run back in 2004.
The Complete Set - Freshman setter Sydney Anderson did more than dishing out assists last week. Anderson hit an impressive .727 in the three matches, tallying eight kills on 11 attempts. She wasn't charged with a single hitting error. Moreover, she was fourth on the team in digs with a 2.14 per-game average.
What's That Up Your Sleeve? - Against New Mexico last Friday, the Utes recorded an impressive 13 service aces. That was three aces shy of the school mark in a three-game match. Leading the way against the Lobos was Airial Salvo with a career-high five and Kate Robison with three. The record (16 aces) was set against Rice back in Sept. of 1994.
You've Got More Than One Up Your Sleeve? - With the 13-ace match against New Mexico, the Utes finished the week with an impressive 25 aces. That's good enough for a 2.78 per-game average, well above the 1.76 season average. Kate Robison led the way with seven last week, recording a 0.78 average. Airial Salvo had six (0.67) while Sydney Anderson tallied four (0.57).
Six of One ... - While Emillie Toone has been Utah's No. 1 blocker all season, it was Lori Baird who took control of Utah's block as of late. In three of the last four matches, Baird has been the Utes' top blocker with six total blocks in each of the TCU, Idaho State and Brigham Young matches. During the last four matches, Baird is averaging a team-best 1.64 blocks. For the season, Baird racks up blocks at a 1.31 per-game clip.
National Rankings - In the national rankings through Oct. 1, Emillie Toone is the No. 1 blocker (2.00 bpg) in the nation and 26th in hitting (.389). Meanwhile, the team ranks first in blocks per game (3.77), 10th in hitting (.292), 14th in assists (15.28), 19th in kills (16.48) and 16th in win-loss percentage (.857).
Potent Notables - The Utes are 1-2 against nationally ranked teams this season. They beat then-No. 16 BYU, 3-1, and lost to then-No. 5 Florida and then-No. 14 USC also by 3-1 counts ... Whitney Webb led all outside hitters last weekend, hitting .309 over the three matches. She also turned in averages of 3.00 kills, 1.78 digs and 0.78 blocks ... Emillie Toone is 12 block assists shy of moving into fifth in Utah's career record book ... Connie Dangerfield needs 54 more digs to break the 900-dig plateau ... Chelsey Sandberg came off the bench to lead Utah with three total blocks against New Mexico. That was one block shy of Sandberg's career high ... the last four Ute opponents have not hit over .200 (BYU, .195; Idaho State, .107; New Mexico, .048; and TCU, .000) ... TCU's .000 hitting percentage is the lowest opponent total since Air Force hit a season-low -.132 ... the Utes have had double-digit block assists in all but the first match of the season ... Utah is 13-0 in three-game matches and 2-2 in four-game matches ... the Utes are 15-2 in games one, two and three, respectively, and 2-2 in game four. They have not played a five-game match yet this season.
Scouting the Opponents:
UVSC - The Wolverines bring an 11-7 overall mark to Crimson Court, having won four of their last five matches. UVSC has had the last week off, reeling from a 3-0 loss to then-No. 18 Brigham Young in its last outing. This will be the fourth meeting between these in-state rivals with Utah owning the 3-0 all-time series lead. The Utes bagged the 3-1 win in Orem, Utah, last year. Leading the Wolverines are Camie Manwill (4.30 kills and 4.27 digs) Jessica Endres (.325 hitting and 0.78 blocks) and Lacee Koelliker (11.23 assists).
Wyoming - The Cowgirls will look to break a three-match losing streak this week when they host Brigham Young on Friday and Utah on Saturday. UW is 8-8 on the season and owns a 2-4 mark in the MWC. It dropped 3-1 and 3-0 matches to San Diego State and UNLV, respectively, last weekend. Utah owns the 35-23 series lead with Wyoming, beating it three times last year (3-1, 3-1 and 3-0). Pacing the Cowgirls are Rachel Smith (3.92 kills), Lauren Scott (.237 hitting), Tasha Weishahn (10.59 assists), Andrea Seele (1.16 blocks) and Micha Lines (3.77 digs).
Last Week - The Utes extended their winning streak to a school-record 13 matches with 3-0 wins over Idaho State (30-21, 30-21, 30-28), New Mexico (30-15, 30-13, 30-27) and TCU (30-27, 30-17, 30-14).
Utah hit .254 against Idaho State, led by the 12-kill efforts of both Airial Salvo and Whitney Webb. Emillie Toone finished with 10 kills. The Utes held the 10-6 edge in team blocks and held the Bengals to a mere .107 hitting. Leading Utah's defense was the six-block showing by Lori Baird and the 14-dig effort by Connie Dangerfield.
The Utes tied the school's longest winning streak by beating New Mexico on .305 hitting. Three Utah spikers had double-digit kills, led by the Kathryn Lovell and Salvo. Both spikers had 11 kills each. The Crimson and White held UNM to .048 hitting and owned the 5.5-4 edge in team blocks. Chelsey Sandberg (three blocks) and Salvo (15 digs) led the Ute defense.
The school-record 13th straight win came at the expense of TCU. Utah out-hit the Horned Frogs, .290-.000, as Lovell and Salvo's 10 kills apiece paced the home team. Utah recorded 7.5 blocks in game three alone and out-blocked TCU, 11.5-5, for the match. Leading the Ute defensive efforts were Baird (six blocks) and Dangerfield (11 digs).
Air Time - This fall, CSTV Networks and the Mountain West Conference kick off an unprecedented 14-year partnership designed to offer the most in-depth coverage ever centered around one Division I-A conference. The centerpiece of this historic relationship is the launch of The mtn. ("the mountain")--MountainWest Sports Network. The mtn. is the first-ever Super Regional Sports Network and will serve the Mountain West Conference 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Utah will be featured on The mtn. on Sunday, Oct. 22, when it hosts UNLV. That match will start at 4 p.m. It will be televised on delay at 7 p.m. Check local listings for future replay times. In addition, to regular season matches, the entire Mountain West Conference will be televised between The mtn. and CSTV.
In addition to CSTV's and the mtn.'s coverage of Utah volleyball, live audio and video of each home match is available for a nominal charge at www.utahutes.com.
At the Helm - Beth Launiere is in her 17th season as Utah's head coach. She has a 337-189 career record. She has led her squad to NCAA Tournament appearances the last eight seasons, including a "Sweet 16" showing in 2001. Following her "Sweet 16" run, Launiere was named the 2001 Tachikara/AVCA Division I West Region Coach of the Year. Launiere's Utes have recorded 10 20-win seasons, and in 2005, 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.
Upcoming - The Utes will host four of their next six matches, starting with home dates against San Diego State (Oct. 20) and UNLV (Oct. 22). The UNLV match will be televised on tape delay on the mtn. The Utes move on to host Brigham Young (Oct. 27) before venturing on the road to battle TCU (Nov. 3) and New Mexico (Nov. 4). The Utes return home to host their final regular season home match on Nov. 9 when Wyoming comes to town.