The Mountain West Conference volleyball tournament gets underway
today at San Diego State University.
The CSU women’s volleyball team is the No. 1 seed for the fourth
straight year. They face eighth-seeded New Mexico at 4 p.m. in the
Ranked No. 14 in the country, the Rams look to finish out the
regular season with a tournament win to become the only team to go
undefeated in conference play in MWC history.
“We’re looking at taking every game seriously,” said junior
middle blocker Katie Jo Shirley. “I think we’re going to have to
come out more focused.”
Expect to see some younger players making big plays for the
Rams. Head coach Tom Hilbert said after last weekend’s match that
he wants to play freshmen Susie Smith and Brittany Hoff a little
“Susie Smith has been having good practices,” Hilbert said. “She
needs to play more. Hoff, same deal.”
Here’s a look at how the conference tournament shapes up.
No. 1 CSU (24-4, 14-0)
The Rams defeated New Mexico in three games on Saturday night to
complete regular season conference play. CSU has two players that
lead MWC in two statistical categories. Shirley leads the
conference in hitting percentage at .410 and junior setter Melissa
Courtney leads all players with 13.24 assists per game. Junior
outside hitter Becky Sarauer leads the team in kills, averaging
3.75 per game. Last week junior middle blocker Bri Frech had a
career-high 10 blocks against Air Force. As a team the Rams are
tops in two categories: assists per game (15.16) and kills per game
(16.60). CSU is hitting .260 on the season while holding their
opponents to .144. The Rams are 7-3 all-time in MWC tournament
No. 2 University of Utah (18-7, 12-2)
The Utes, after an early season slump, came on strong in the
second half of the season. Their two conference losses came against
CSU. For the fourth time this season, senior middle blocker Kim
Turner was named MWC player of the week, when she was given the
award last week. Turner led the Utes to wins against SDSU and
Nevada-Las Vegas on the road last weekend. Utah faces No. 7 Wyoming
in the quarterfinals of the tournament. Utah won the last match
between the two teams in Wyoming in five games. On Sept. 26, the
Utes defeated the Cowgirls in three games.
No. 3 Brigham Young University (20-7, 10-4)
BYU faces No. 6 Air Force at 1:30 p.m. today in the first round
of tournament play. BYU has won both matches against AFA this
season. In the first match between the two teams, AFA won the first
two games only to lose in five to the Cougars. BYU is the only team
in the conference that has eight players with 100 or more kills on
the season. Freshman Lindsy Hartsock is ranked number three in
hitting percentage (.357), fourth in blocks per game (1.27) and
sixth in service aces per game.
No. 4 San Diego State University (17-13, 7-7)
Tournament host SDSU goes up against No. 5 UNLV at 7 p.m. in the
last game of quarterfinals. Perhaps CSU’s second round opponent,
SDSU has lost their last two games but has defeated UNLV twice this
season. Megan Schauermann ranks first in the MWC in blocks with
1.60 per game.
No. 5 University of Nevada-Las Vegas (11-16, 4-10)
One of three teams with a 4-10 conference record, UNLV looks to
have its first win against SDSU this season and gain a berth to the
second round of tournament play. The Rebels are 1-4 in their last
five games. Senior outside hitter Leiana Oswald hit .310 with 27
kills against UNLV.
No. 6 Air Force Academy (14-14, 4-10)
AFA is 1-5 in their last six games. In their last game against
Wyoming, senior outside hitter Delavane Diaz hit 23 kills with a
.366 hitting percentage and 12 digs. Diaz has led the conference in
kills for 12 straight weeks. The Falcons have lost both matches
against BYU this year and are 1-11 lifetime against the Cougars.
They won in an upset last year against BYU in Utah.
No. 7 Wyoming (15-15, 4-10)
Wyoming goes for the upset against No. 2 Utah. The Cowgirls have
lost eight of their last 10 games. In their last game of the season
they lost to AFA and only hit .168 in the loss.
No. 8 University of New Mexico (4-24, 1-13)
The Lobos have won one game in the last two months. They have
lost in three games to CSU twice this year, the latest against CSU
No. 2 Utah vs. No. 7 Wyoming
No. 3 BYU vs. No. 6 Air Force
No. 1 CSU vs. No. 8 New Mexico
No. 4 SDSU vs. UNLV
Semifinals on Friday:
Utah/Wyoming vs. BYU/AFA
CSU/ UNM vs. SDSU/ UNLV
Championship on Saturday on Fox Sports Net