Nov 192003
 
Authors: Stephanie Lindberg

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

quarterfinals.

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

more.

“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

play.

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

last Saturday.

Quarterfinals:

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

 

 

 

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