The No. 24-ranked Ute volleyball team has three matches on the docket this week.
Sept. 11, 2006
This Week - The No. 21-ranked University of Utah volleyball team (6-2 overall, 0-0 Mountain West) has another three-match week ahead of it. The Utes hit the road to battle in-state rival Weber State (4-9 overall) on Tuesday, Sept. 12. Then, conference action begins when Colorado State (5-4, 0-0 MWC) and Air Force (1-7, 0-0 MWC) come to town on Friday and Saturday, Sept. 15-16, respectively. All home matches are played at Crimson Court located on the lower level of HPER-East, room 101.
Quoting Head Coach Beth Launiere:
On This Week: "Anytime you have an in-state match on the road, you have to be prepared for it. We're going to go have a hard practice today (Monday) to work on the things we noticed from last weekend and then go after Weber State.
"We are very excited to start conference play. It's interesting to begin it with Colorado State but it should be a good match because there's such a history of hard-fought matches between us. The thing about conference play is that there's a quick turnaround. We have to play two matches back-to-back now, and each match is very important."
On Last Week: "I liked the sustained effort that the team gave last weekend. We didn't have any major let downs and I thought that everyone executed at a high level in the last three matches."
On the Tube - The Friday night match against Colorado State will be nationally televised on CSTV as part of the AVCA "Sunday Night Spikes" programming. It will televise on the all-college sports station on Sunday, Sept. 17, at 4 p.m. (MDT). Check your local listings in order to locate CSTV on your cable/satellite provider.
The Business End of the Broom - Fans who have come to watch a Ute win haven't had much time to get comfortable in the stands. Currently, the Utes are 6-2. All six of their wins have been 3-0 sweeps of their opponents. Utah enters action this week on a four-match winning streak, sweeping Fresno State, Temple, Utah State and Missouri State along the way.
The Utes Can Carry a "Toone" - Emillie Toone was a force to be reckoned with last weekend. She began action last week averaging 2.0 blocks per game. But that average is a far cry from the 2.78 blocks per game she averaged in the three matches last weekend. She had 25 total blocks in nine games of work. Her numbers were buoyed by an 11-block effort against Temple on Friday.
An "A" for Effort - Four Utes were honored for an outstanding effort at last weekend's Utah Classic. Emillie Toone was named the tournament MVP while Connie Dangerfield was the all-tourney libero. Also named to the all-tournament team were Airial Salvo and Whitney Webb.
Grin and "Baird" it - Lori Baird had a record-setting effort in the three-game win over Missouri State last weekend. The sophomore middle led the Utes, hitting .923 in the victory. She tallied 12 kills on 13 attempts without committing a single hitting error. The .923 effort set the school's single-match record. It tops Stacie Greenwalt's .833 set against New Hampshire in 1998. It also set the conference's single-match hitting record, besting BYU's Sunny Mahe who hit .909 (10-0-11) against Wyoming in Oct., 1999.
If Volleyball Had a Mendoza Line - If volleyball had a name for futility, perhaps the Utes' opponents might be tagged with that moniker. Four of the last five Utah opponents have hit well below .100. Fresno State (-.033), Utah State (-.026) and Missouri State (.068) had a rough go against Utah's defense while Temple was the only one to break the .100 plateau at .105. In the last four matches, opponents are hitting a scant .029. Utah's rivals are hitting .107 on the season.
Welcome Back ... er, Dangerfield - Junior libero Connie Dangerfield seems to have returned to the form that landed her MWC Libero of the Year honors in 2004. Last weekend, Dangerfield scooped up a team-best 4.56 digs, accounting for 28 percent of the team's digs (41-of-149). Dangerfield redshirted the 2005 campaign to recover from a shoulder injury.
The Ute Blockade - Utah's block was up to par last weekend. The team out-blocked its rivals, 39.5-19, and averaged an impressive 4.39 blocks per game. Moreover, Ute rivals combined to hit a meager .050 last week. For the year, Utah out-blocks its rivals, 99-59 and averages 3.81 blocks while holding opponents to .107 hitting.
Potent Notables - The Utes are 0-2 against ranked teams with 3-1 losses to then-No. 5 Florida and then-No. 14 USC ... Utah is 3-1 in games that go extra points ... Utah has had double-digit team blocks in the last seven matches and in seven of the eight on the year. It had a season-best 16.0 team blocks in the loss to Florida ... the Utes hold a commanding 99-59 edge over their rivals in blocking ... the Utes have had six or more aces in three of the last four matches ... the team is 6-2 in game one, 7-1 in each game two and three and 0-2 in game four ... it is also 6-0 in three-game matches while it is 0-2 in four-gamers.
Scouting the Opponents:
Weber State - The Wildcats own a 4-9 overall record and are in the midst of a four-match losing streak. Last weekend, they lost to UVSC and Oral Roberts in three and to IPFW in five. Utah owns the all-time lead, 42-19. The Utes beat WSU, 3-0, when they last met at Crimson Court in 2005. Weber State's offensive leaders are Leah Burmeister (3.18 kills), Kolbie Murphey (.257 hitting) and Kristi Lindley (8.45 assists). Pacing the defense are Keelee Kap (3.98 digs) and Brittney Brisaillon (1.57 blocks).
Colorado State- The Rams come to town with a 5-4 overall mark and have lost two of their last three matches. While CSU beat American (3-2) last weekend, its two losses were to No. 13-ranked California and No. 18-ranked Pepperdine, both by a 3-1 count. CSU owns the 43-19 series lead with Utah and won two of the three meetings last year. Jamie Strauss (3.32 kills), Amanda Fahnestock (.308 hitting) and Ashley Fornstrom (11.68 assists) lead the offense while Katelin Batten (3.32 digs) and Tessa Nelson (1.00 blocks) lead the defense.
Air Force Academy - The Falcons come to Salt Lake City sporting a 1-7 mark, having lost six in a row. Last weekend they dropped a four-game match to Western Carolina and three-gamers to Central Arkansas and Morehead State. The Utes have never lost to AFA, winning in all 17 previous meetings. Kristina Stewart (2.60 kills) and Jocelyn Booker (.154 hitting) lead the offense that runs through Kim Kallabis (6.62 assists). Defensively, Jaclyn Fleming (3.76 digs) and Booker (0.92 blocks) lead the Falcons.
Last Week - The Utes rolled to three wins beating Temple (30-25, 30-21, 30-24), Utah State (30-25, 30-23, 30-11) and Missouri State (30-22, 30-20, 30-13), all by a 3-0 count, to win the Utah Classic title.
Utah out-hit and out-blocked all three opponents last weekend, hitting .324 while holding rivals to a .050 hitting percentage. The Utes hit .301 in the win over Temple, led by Airial Salvo's double-double of 15 kills and 14 digs. Defensively, Utah held the 13.5-5 edge in blocks, led by Emillie Toone's 11 total blocks. Connie Dangerfield had a team-best 15 digs.
The Utes won the Utah Classic title by sweeping Missouri State. Utah hit a season-high .383 by hitting .265 in game one, .444 in game two and .500 in game three. Baird's 12 kills on a school-record .923 hitting percentage led the Utes. Utah had 10.5 blocks to MSU's 8 with Toone's eight total blocks leading the way. Dangerfield led all players with 18 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. 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 328-189 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 10 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 - The Utes begin a four-match road swing next week. It all starts with away matches at UNLV (Sept. 21) and San Diego State (Sept. 23) and wraps up with matches at Brigham Young (Sept. 29) and Idaho State (Oct. 8). The next home match is Oct. 6 when the Lobos of New Mexico State descend upon Crimson Court.