Sydney Anderson and the Utah volleyball team play at Air Force and CSU this weekend.
Nov. 14, 2006
This Week - The newly-crowned Mountain West Conference Champions and No. 9-ranked University of Utah volleyball team (23-2 overall, 14-0 Mountain West) wraps up the regular season with two road dates this weekend. On the docket are Air Force (3-22, 0-14 MWC) on Friday, Nov. 17, and Colorado State (17-7, 11-3 MWC) on Saturday, Nov. 18.The Air Force match will begin at 6 p.m., while the CSU tilt will start at 7 p.m.
Quoting Head Coach Beth Launiere:
On Air Force/Colorado State: "These two matches are important to us. At this point in the season, we want to keep getting better and want to get mentally prepared for the postseason.
"There's also pride on the line for us. We want to go out and play well so that we can have a strong finish to the regular season. "
On Winning the MWC Title: "Winning the conference championship was one of our primary goals this season. I am very happy for our players because we set this goal and we achieved it. There have been times this season when we could have slipped and a lost a match but we didn't let it happen. This team persevered."
On Wyoming Last Week: "The Cowgirls have been playing good volleyball, especially in the second half of the conference season. Sometimes when you push an opponent, they just go away. But, the Cowgirls did a good job of putting up a sustained effort. They just didn't quit. I have a lot of respect for them and the effort they put forth against us."
We Are The Champions - A tight, three-way conference race among Utah, Colorado and Brigham Young has given way to Utah. It came to a head last weekend when Colorado State fell to UNLV in five games on Sunday night. With CSU's loss, it fell into a tie for second with BYU at 11-3 while Utah is currently a perfect 14-0 with two matches left. The three-game differential can't be made up with only two matches left in the regular season.
Home Sweet Home - The Utes finished the regular season a perfect 12-0 at home. That is the second time that Utah has gone undefeated at Crimson Court. The Utes went 15-0 there back in 2001, the same year it advanced to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament.
Picture Perfect - The Utes will try to go undefeated in MWC regular season play this weekend. They have their last two matches at Air Force and Colorado State. Only one other team has gone undefeated in conference play. That was the 2003 Colorado State volleyball team. It went 14-0 that year.
DYK (Dangerfield, You Know) - Connie Dangerfield is on the cusp of a major milestone. The junior libero needs only 24 more digs to break the 1,000-career dig plateau. She has 976. Dangerfield is no stranger to the Utah record book, though. She also holds the single-season record for digs, chalking up 467 as sophomore in 2004.
Are You All Set? - Freshman setter Sydney Anderson had a career outing against Wyoming. Anderson recorded her second career double-double as she turned in a 64-assist, 19-dig effort in the win. Both numbers are career-highs for Anderson.
"Toone" In and Watch - Emillie Toone had an impressive line on the stat sheet after the Wyoming match. She nearly had a double-double with 17 kills and eight total blocks. More impressive, though, she also hit .469 (17-2-32). The 17 kills was a career high for the junior middle blocker.
Share and Share Alike - Five Utes had double-digit kills in the win over Wyoming last weekend. Emillie Toone and Airial Salvo both had 17 kills, Whitney Webb and Kathryn Lovell both had 15 while Lori Baird had 13. Baird was the top hitter at .478 (13-2-23) while Salvo (20 digs) and Webb (14 digs) both had double-doubles.
Streak Speak - During the current 21-match winning streak: the team lost six games (one each to UNLV, BYU, TCU and New Mexico, and three to Wyoming) ... 15 of the matches are 3-0 sweeps ... opponents hit a meager .103 while Utah hit .294 ... Utah's top four hitters (Emillie Toone, .382; Whitney Webb, .363; Lori Baird, .353; and Airial Salvo, .302) have all hit better than .300.
Sounding Like a Broken Record - While Connie Dangerfield is moving up the record book, Emillie Toone also continues to ascend the list. Toone moved into third all-time at Utah in block assists. She had seven against Wyoming, upping her career total to 390. That moved her past former teammate Lyndsey Henderson (2002-04) who had 385.
Gotcha Coming or Going - If the trio of Emillie Toone, Whitney Webb and Lori Baird doesn'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. 2 hitter (.369) and its No. 1 blocker (1.90). Baird is No. 6 (.327) and No. 3 (1.41), respectively, while Webb is No. 3 in hitting (.353) and No. 6 in blocks (1.37).
The Numbers Game - 74, the number days it's been since Utah lost a match; 21, the number of victories in Utah's current winning streak; 13, the number of games Utah has lost all season; 9, where Utah ranks in the coaches poll; 1, the number of five-game matches Utah has played this year and the number of games Utah has lost on its home court; 0 the number of matches lost this season at Crimson Court.
National Rankings Updated - In the national rankings through Nov. 5, Emillie Toone is the No. 2 blocker (1.90 bpg). Meanwhile, the team ranks first in blocks per game (3.76), eighth in win-loss percentage (.920), 10th in hitting (.284), 17th in kills (16.55) and 326th in assists (15.06).
Poll Position - Utah is currently ranked No. 9 in the latest poll ... it has been ranked the CSTV/AVCA coaches poll a total of 72 times ... the highest-ever ranking was No. 8 on Sept. 9, 2002 ... the Utes have been ranked in the top 10 a total of eight times. They were top 10 three times in 2001 and five 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 - Utah's 14 league wins are a new school record ... 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 recorded its 11th straight 20-win season ... Utah is 17-0 in three-game matches, 5-2 in four-game affairs and 1-0 in five-gamers ... they are also 21-4 in games one and three, 22-3 in game two, 6-2 in game four and 1-0 in game five ... the team is 4-2 in games that go into extra points.
Scouting the Opponent:
Air Force - The Falcons (3-22, 0-14 MWC) have lost seven straight, including two 3-0 losses to UNLV and San Diego State last weekend. Utah bagged a home win over AFA in its last meeting, 3-0, and leads the all-time series, 18-0. Leading the Falcons are Katie Batchelder (2.57 kills), Jocelyn Booker (.183 hitting), Kim Kallabis (6.79 assists), Michelle Harrington and Booker (0.75 blocks) and Jaclyn Fleming (3.68 digs).
Colorado State - The Rams (17-7, 11-3 MWC) are second in the league, going 1-1 last weekend by topping San Diego State, 3-2, and losing to UNLV in five. The loss snapped a 12-match winning streak. Utah beat CSU, 3-0, when they met in Salt Lake City earlier this year. But CSU still holds the 43-20 all-time series lead. Pacing the Rams are Mekana Barnes (3.07 kills and .291 hitting), Ashley Fornstrom (12.52 assists), Tessa Nelson (1.15 blocks) and Katelin Batten (3.78 digs).
Last Week - The No.9-ranked Utes raced their winning streak out to 21 straight matches as they beat Wyoming (28-30, 30-24, 30-22, 35-33) in their last regular season home match of the year.
Both teams came out on fire as Utah hit .340 and Wyoming .362 in game one. Utah settled to hit .299 for the match and saw five of its players tally double-digit kills. It was led by the 17-kill efforts of Emillie Toone and Airial Salvo. Whitney Webb and Kathryn Lovell each had 15 kills while Lori Baird had 13. Baird led all hitters, collecting kills at a .478 (13-2-23) clip. Salvo and Webb both had double-doubles as they recorded 20 and 15 digs, respectively.
Sydney Anderson ran the offense, handing out 64 assists. She had a double-double with 19 digs as well.
The Ute defense held the Cowgirls to just .185 hitting and held the 12-4 edge in team blocks. Leading the defense was Toone's eight total blocks and Salvo's 20 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 345-189 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 - Postseason play begins with the Mountain West Conference Tournament on Nov. 23-25. It will be held at Cox Pavilion on the campus of UNLV. The winner of the tournament wins the league's automatic bid to the 64-team NCAA Tournament. Seeding for the tournament will be set at the end of the regular season. More information on the tournament can be found on the volleyball page at www.themwc.com.