Chelsey Sandberg and the Utah volleyball team has two road matches this week.
Oct. 31, 2006
This Week - Four of the last five matches are on the road for the No. 9-ranked University of Utah volleyball team (20-2, 11-0 Mountain West), including this week's matches at TCU and New Mexico. Halloween week finds the Utes playing at TCU (17-9, 5-7 MWC) on Friday, Nov. 3, before playing New Mexico on Saturday, Nov. 4. The TCU match starts at 6 p.m. (MST) while the New Mexico match starts at 7 p.m. (MST).
Quoting Head Coach Beth Launiere:
On This Week: "We have to be prepared for both matches this weekend. With a tough travel schedule and two very competitive teams like TCU and New Mexico, we have to go into it knowing that it's going to take a great effort to get a win at both places."
On Last Week: "I think we gave a consistent effort against BYU and that we executed our game plan very well. What I'm most proud of is our composure. It was a big crowd, a vocal crowd, and we didn't let the atmosphere get to us. I think we responded to the situation very well."
A Scary Serve - The Utes served up nine aces in the victory over then-No. 17 Brigham Young last weekend. More impressive, though, is that they only came from two different players. Airial Salvo recorded a career-high six aces in the three-game sweep while freshman Sydney Anderson chimed in with the other three. Anderson's three tied her career high for aces. Salvo is the top server in the conference with 0.49 aces per game.
A Bewitching Block - Emillie Toone continues to frustrate opponents at the net. Against BYU last weekend, the 6-7 middle blocker jammed the Cougars to the tune of eight total blocks. That upped her season average from 1.91 blocks per game to 1.94. That was the 11th time that Toone has had a six-plus block game. She has had three double-digit blocking matches this year, including the 14-block match at Wyoming.
Eerie 18 - During the on-going 18-match winning streak: the team has only lost four games (one each to UNLV and BYU, and two to Wyoming) ... 15 of the matches are 3-0 sweeps ... the Utes haven't lost to a ranked opponent ... Utah nearly out-blocks its opponents at a 2-to-1 rate. Utah has 3.99 blocks per game while rivals are blocking at a 2.07 clip ... opponents are hitting a meager .084 against Utah ... the Utes have more than double the aces than their opponents, 101-47 ... Utah's top three hitters (Emillie Toone, .392; Whitney Webb, .355; and Lori Baird, .353) are all hitting better than .350.
Resurrecting the Record Book - Emillie Toone continues her ascent up the record book. Last weekend, she chalked up eight total blocks, seven of which were block assists. The seven block assists upped her career mark to 372, good enough to move into fourth place all-time. Toone passes Teresa McCabe (371) and is 14 blocks assists shy of passing former teammate Lyndsey Henderson.
Tangled in Whitney's "Webb" - Whitney Webb continues to be the top outside hitter in the conference. She leads all outsides in hitting an impressive .344. But, Webb also gets it done on defense. She ranks fifth in the league in blocks (1.39 per game) and is fourth on the team in digs (2.58).
A Terrifying Trio - If the trio of Emillie Toone, Whitney Webb and Lori Baird don't get you on offense, they'll get you on defense. All three rank in the top six in the league in both hitting and blocking. Toone is the league's No. 3 hitter (.375) and its No. 1 blocker (1.94). Baird is No. 6 (.322) and No. 3 (1.43), respectively, while Webb is No. 5 (.344, 1.39) in both categories.
Magical Numbers - 60, the number days it's been since Utah lost a match; 18, the number of victories in Utah's current winning streak; 10, the number of games Utah has lost all season; 12, the number of consecutive games won; 9, where Utah ranks in the coaches poll; 1, the number of five-game matches Utah has played this year; 0, the number of home losses and the number of games Utah has lost on its home court.
Who's The Scariest of Them All? - In the national rankings through Oct. 29, Emillie Toone is the No. 1 blocker (1.94 bpg). Meanwhile, the team ranks first in blocks per game (3.86), seventh in win-loss percentage (.909), 11th in hitting (.282), 18th in kills (16.50) and 24th in assists (15.08).
"Troll"ing the Poll - Utah is currently ranked No. 9 in the latest poll ... it has been ranked the CSTV/AVCA coaches poll a total of 70 times ... the highest-ever ranking was No. 8 on Sept. 9, 2002 ... the Utes have been ranked in the top 10 a total of six times. They were top 10 three times in 2001 and three times this season ... prior to this season, the last top-10 ranking was on Sept. 16, 2002 when Utah checked in at No. 10.
Potent Notables - The Utes are 2-2 against nationally ranked teams this season. They beat then-No. 16 and 17 BYU, 3-1 and 3-0, respectively, and lost to then-No. 5 Florida and then-No. 14 USC, both by 3-1 counts ... with the most recent win over BYU, Utah has recorded its 11th straight 20-win season ... Utah has held its opponents to under .200 hitting in nine straight matches. Five of those opponents didn't even top the .100 plateau ... the Utes are 11-0 at home this year. The only other time Utah went undefeated at home was in 2001 when it went 15-0. The Utes have one more home match yet this season. It's last home match is against Wyoming on Nov. 9 ... Utah has had double-digit team blocks in all but three matches this year. It's opponents have had double-digit team blocks in only three matches ... Utah is 17-0 in three-game matches, 2-2 in four-game affairs and 1-0 in five-gamers ... they are also 19-3 in games one and two, 20-2 in game three, 3-2 in game four and 1-0 in game five.
Scouting the Opponents:
TCU - The Horned Frogs (17-9, 5-7 MWC) enter action this week having lost three of their last four. That includes a pair of 3-1 losses to conference rivals UNLV and San Diego State last weekend. TCU is currently in fifth place in the league. Before hosting Utah, TCU will tangle with Oklahoma in a road tilt on Tuesday night. The Utes are 6-0 all-time against TCU. Leading the Frogs this year are Anna Vaughn (3.55 kills, .349 hitting and 1.06 blocks), Nirelle Hampton (11.03 assists) and Calli Corley (4.58 digs).
New Mexico - The Lobos enter action this week with a 7-17 overall mark. They are currently eighth in the league with a 3-9 Mountain West Conference tally. UNM has lost eight of its last nine matches, including a pair of 3-0 sweeps at San Diego and UNLV last weekend. This will mark the 64th meeting between these two teams as Utah owns the 36-27 series lead. Pacing the Lobos this season are Jeanne Fairchild (3.01 kills), Allison Suitor (.243 hitting), Sarah Kwasigroch (10.40 assists), Gayle Tripp (4.36 digs) and Joelle Ingram (1.11 blocks).
Last Week - The Utes raced their winning streak out to 18 straight matches with a 3-0 sweep over in-state rival and No. 17-ranked Brigham Young on Friday night (30-24, 30-26, 30-27).
Utah hit .267 for the match, led by the efforts of Airial Salvo. In addition to her team-high 14 kills on .444 hitting, she bagged a career-high six service aces. Also helping out on offense was Whitney Webb (13 kills) and Lori Baird (11).
Setting the offense was Sydney Anderson as she handed out a match-high 46 assists to go along with nine digs, three kills and two blocks.
The Utes held the 10.5-7 edge in team blocks and held the usually potent Cougars to just .197 hitting. Emillie Toone nearly had a double-double as she recorded a match-high eight total blocks. Webb helped out at the net with five of her own. Connie Dangerfield led from the back row in scooping up a match-high 15 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. The Mountain West Conference quarterfinals and semifinals will air on the mtn., while the MWC Championships match will air on 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 342-189 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 11 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 - Mountain West Conference play continues when the Utes return home to Crimson Court to host Wyoming in the regular-season home finale (Nov. 9). The regular season concludes on the road at Air Force (Nov. 17) and Colorado State (Nov. 18).