Katie Theurer and the Utah volleyball team host two conference matches this weekend.
Oct. 17, 2005
This Week: Conference rivals are on the docket for the University of Utah volleyball team (13-6 overall, 5-3 Mountain West Conference) as the Utes continue their extended homestand with dates against San Diego State and UNLV. SDSU comes to town on Friday, Oct. 21, while the Rebels invade Salt Lake City on Saturday, Oct. 22. Both matches are at Crimson Court and begin at 7 p.m.
Quoting Head Coach Beth Launiere:
On This Week - "We have two very big matches this weekend. Both UNLV and San Diego State are ahead of us in the standings and these matches will have an implication on tournament seeding.
"They are both very good teams this year and it's going to be a challenge for us."
On Last Week - "It was a productive weekend for us. I think we've solidified our starting lineup and are beginning to pass and play as well as we have all season.
"The team has really come together and we had a good week of practice last week. I think if we have another good week here, we'll be ready to compete and make a run to the top of the conference."
"Airial" Attack - Airial Salvo led the team in the two matches last week in hitting .371 (27 kills and four errors on 62 swings) and netting 3.86 kills per game. Since conference play began eight matches ago, the outside hitter has been collecting kills at a .271 clip and has seen her season average improve to .262.
In the Swing of Things - The Utes won the two matches last week in recording their best hitting weekend of the season. The team hit .302 over the two-game stretch, knocking down kills at a .274 rate against New Mexico and a .333 clip against the Air Force Academy. The .333 average against Air Force is the second-best effort thus far this year. Utah hit a season-best .374 against the same Falcons when they first met in Colorado Springs, Colo., earlier this season. The Utes are hitting .237 in conference play and .224 for the year.
"Toone-ing" In - Emillie Toone has been a defensive force for the Utes. She has recorded six or more blocks in four of the last five matches. That string of dominance includes a 12-block performance at Colorado State and seven-block showing against TCU. Toone has averaged 1.79 blocks per game in the last five matches and swats away opponent attempts at a 1.40 per-game rate in conference play. She ranks second in the conference in blocks.
A Complete Set - Freshman setter Shannon Krug led the team to a .302 hitting percentage last week in dishing out 12.25 assists per game. Her two-match effort improves her season average to 11.19 assists per game, ranking her third in the conference. Moreover, Krug tied her career high last weekend, tallying five kills in a .714 hitting performance against Air Force.
"Whit" Washed - Whitney Webb has earned her way into the starting lineup in the last five matches. However, last weekend was her best weekend on the court. She averaged 2.83 kills but was one of the top hitters on the team at .419. She had 17 kills on 31 swings (with only four errors). Against Air Force, the sophomore she had nine kills on 15 attempts with no errors to hit an eye-popping .600.
Ace Up the Sleeve - The Utes had a season-high 11 service aces in the four-game win over Air Force Academy (2.75 per game). Danielle Leichliter led the way with a season-high three while Katie Theurer and Lori Baird each tallied a pair. For the year, Utah averages 1.3 aces per game. The Utes were three aces shy of tying the school record in a four-game match. Utah's record for aces in a four-game match is 14 (three times).
Movin' On Up - Shelly Sommerfeldt continues to climb up the career kills record book at Utah. Last weekend, the senior outside hitter tallied 24 kills and upped her career mark 1,071. That moved her into eighth all-time at Utah and leaves her 23 kills shy of moving past Jenni Eyre and her 1,094 kills. Ahead of Eyre is Debbie Gibby-Smith with 1,109 career kills. Kim Turner is Utah's all-time kills leader with 1,620.
Home Is Where the Wins Are - The Utes continue to reap the benefits of playing on their home court. Utah improved its home record to 7-0 on the season with its two wins last weekend and will play five of the last eight matches at home. The remaining home docket includes No. 15-ranked BYU (Nov. 4) and conference power Colorado State (Nov. 12). Both matches are slated to start at 7 p.m.
Tough D - The Utes continue to be one of the most menacing defensive teams in the conference. Utah ranks at the top in both opponent hitting percentage and in blocks. It holds its opponents to a league-best .147 while ranking second in blocks with 3.29 per game. The Utes have two of the conference top six blockers. Emllie Toone ranks second with 1.40 blocks per game while fellow middle blocker Lori Baird checks in at sixth with 1.21 per game.
Dancing In Vegas - The Utes will make their appearance in postseason play at the 2005 Mountain West Conference Volleyball Tournament. The tourney is in Las Vegas, Nev., from Nov. 24-26 and will be produced by CSTV. It will air the quarterfinal, semifinal and championship matches on its cable network in addition to streaming it on the Web. The Webcasting will be available on the conference Web site (www.themwc.com), through its All-Access feature at no cost to the consumer.
Team News and Notes: Utah hit .333 against Air Force last weekend. That was the third time Utah has hit over .300 for a match this season. Utah is 3-0 when it hits better than .300. The top hitting percentage this year was a smoking .347 at Air Force on Sept. 23 ... no opponent has hit better than .169 against the Utes in the last seven matches. During that span, Utah held TCU to a .069 mark and Wyoming to .063. Wyoming's effort is the lowest by a Ute opponents so far this season ... the Utes are hitting .224 for the year but see their average improve to .237 against conference foes ... on the flip-side, opponents are hitting .147 against Utah. That number slips to .128 in conference action ... Utah is 12-1 when it hits .200 this year. Its opponents are 4-1 when they hit .200. Only Santa Clara broke the .200 barrier against the Utes and still lost ... Utah is 1-3 against ranked teams this year. The lone win was a 3-2 victory over No. 17 Santa Clara. It lost to No. 20 BYU (3-1), and to No. 21 Missouri (3-0) and No. 9 Tennessee (3-0) ... the team is 7-0 at home but 6-6 when it leaves Crimson Court ... the Utes have four come-from-behind wins this season (Iowa State, Missouri State, Santa Clara and TCU) ... the Utes are 3-2 in three-gamers, 8-1 in four-game matches, and 2-3 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 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.
Weekend Recap: The Utes chalked up a pair of conference victories in topping both New Mexico and Air Force by a 3-1 count.
The Utes out-blocked the Lobos in the first match of the week, 13.5-7, and held them to .133 hitting in tallying the win. Utah hit .274 and was led by Shelly Sommerfeldt's 14 kills.
Utah got a decisive four-game win over Air Force in holding it to .129 hitting for the match. Utah hit a smooth .333 and saw Sommerfeldt and Lori Baird lead the way with 10 kills each.
Emillie Toone led the way in hitting .478 on the weekend and with 1.50 blocks per game. Airial Salvo averaged a team-best 3.86 kills per game while Shannon Krug (12.25 assists per game) and Danielle Leichliter (4.00 digs) also led the Utes.
Scouting This Week's Opponents:
San Diego State - The Aztecs come to town boasting a 12-7 overall mark and are fourth in the league at 4-2. They have lost two of the last three but beat TCU in their last outing, 3-1. Melanie Greene leads the team with 3.19 kills while Lindsey Noll is the top hitter with a .335 average. Kristen Castillo (6.66 assists per game) and Leah Lathrop (5.43) run the offense while Amie Cordeiro (4.77 digs per game) and Noll (1.38 blocks) are tops for SDSU defensively.
UNLV - The Rebels enter action this week in second place, harboring a 9-8 overall mark and a 5-1 league record. They have won four straight and five of their last six, including a 3-0 home win over TCU last weekend. UNLV plays Nevada and BYU before coming up to the U. It is led by Lauren Miramontes and her 3.47 kills per game while Maria Aladjova is the top hitter at .256. Melody Nua sets the attack (11.71 assists per game) while Jada Walker (4.11 digs), Ashley Flahaven and Mariana Pencheva (0.79 blocks) lead the team's defense.
At the Helm: Beth Launiere is in her 16th season as Utah's head coach. She has a 312-184 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.
Up Next: The Utes have one match in each of the next two weeks. First, they play one of their last three road matches at TCU on Saturday, Oct. 29. Utah will then return home to host nationally-ranked BYU on Friday, Nov. 4.