Jennifer Lanting and the Utes close their regular-season home schedule this week against Colorado State and Wyoming.
Nov. 9, 2009
The University of Utah volleyball team will conclude its regular season home slate by hosting a pair of Mountain West Conference matches at Crimson Court. The Utes face Colorado State Thursday at 7:30 p.m., then take on Wyoming Saturday at 1 p.m.
The Mtn. will provide a live telecast of Thursday's match against the Rams from Crimson Court. Anne Marie Anderson will have the play-by-play call and Amy Gant will be the color analyst. Live stats will be available for both matches at utahutes.com. Dan Clayton will have the play-by-play call for Saturday's match against Wyoming, which can be accessed by clicking the 'Watch' link at utahutes.com
Utah has split its last four matches and is 15-9 overall. The Utes stand third in the MWC with an 8-4 conference record and are three matches behind second-place TCU. CSU has won its last four matches and 16 of its last 17 matches. The Rams begin play this weekend with a 20-4 record and currently lead the MWC with 12-1 mark in league play, a half match ahead of TCU. Wyoming has won two of its last three matches and is 12-16 overall this season. The Cowgirls occupy eighth place in the MWC with a 2-11 conference mark and will play BYU Thursday at 7 p.m.
Follow Utah Volleyball on Twitter at http://twitter.com/utahvolleyball and watch highlights from the Utes' historic five-set victory Sept. 25 over BYU at Crimson Court on the Utah Volleyball Blog at http://utahvolleyball.blogspot.com.
Last Time Out: Utah dropped a four-set decision Saturday at TCU (21-25, 26-24, 20-25, 7-25) in the University Recreation Center. The Utes held an 8-7 advantage in team blocks but could only hit for a .170 mark, compared to .313 for the Horned Frogs.
Scouting the Rams: First-place CSU is 5-1 in conference road matches this season and lead the MWC in hitting percentage (.242), kills (13.27 k/s), digs (16.28 d/s) and blocks (2.77 b/s). Danielle Minch is second in the conference with 3.68 kills and 4.06 points per set. Tessa Nelson leads way with a conference-high 1.30 blocks per set, while three other Rams rank second in the MWC's statistical rankings: Megan Plourde has a .379 hitting percentage, Evan Sanders (10.51 assists/set), and Katelin Batten (4.15 digs/set).
CSU Series History: The Utes trail the all-time series with the Rams, 42-27, although Utah has won five of the last nine matchups. In the first meeting this season, In CSU's last visit to Crimson Court, Utah wrapped up its sixth MWC title (tournament and regular season) in school history with a `Championship Saturday' victory over CSU on Nov. 22, 2008.
Last Time Against CSU: Utah dropped a three-set match (14-25, 13-25, 15-25) on Oct. 17 against Colorado State at Moby Arena. The Utes were outhit .382 to .078 for the match and were at a 70-40 disadvantage in digs. Sophomore setter Abby Simmons (Phoenix, Ariz.) was second on the team with 12 digs and she also distributed a team-high 11 assists. The Phoenix, Ariz., native now has six career double-doubles with five coming in 2009.
Scouting the Cowgirls: The Cowgirls are 3-6 on the road this season and only 1-5 in MWC road matches. Jodi Purdy is third in the MWC with 3.48 kills per set. She also ranks eighth in the league with 0.25 service aces per set. As a team, Wyoming is second in the conference with 1.40 aces per set. JennaRae Jester ranks fourth in the MWC with 1.16 blocks per set.
Wyoming Series History: The Utes have won 18 of the last 19 matches in the series with the Cowgirls. Utah owns a 41-24 lead in the all-time series with Wyoming. UW's only win in the last meeting came in Laramie on Sept. 20, 2008.
Last Time Against Wyoming: Utah recovered from a 24-22 fourth-set deficit to earn a 3-2 win (21-25, 25-20, 24-26, 27-25, 15-13) against Wyoming Oct. 15, 2009 at the UniWyo Sports Complex. UW edged out to a 24-22 lead but Utah roared back with a 5-2 run to claim a 27-25 lead to even the match at two sets apiece. The Utes gained a 5-1 edge to start the pivotal fifth set and held on for a 15-13 match-clinching victory.
Utes Love the Small Screen: Utah is 7-0 on television since 2008, including a 4-0 mark in televised matches at Crimson Court.
`Barto' Banter: Junior opposite hitter Karolina Bartkowiak (Aurora, Ill.) led the way last week for the Ute attack in matches at New Mexico and TCU this weekend with 3.50 kills per set and was second on the squad with a .239 hitting percentage. She also had 2.12 digs per set, a mark that tied for second place on the team. Bartkowiak came up with her 10th career double, all coming this season, Saturday at TCU. She had 11 kills and 10 digs to go along with a pair of blocks. She hit for 17 kills at New Mexico on Thursday for her third straight double-figure-kill match and 16th this season. Bartkowiak also added seven digs and three blocks. She stands sixth in the MWC with 3.06 kills per set, ranks sixth with 3.61 points per set and is 10th with a .281 hitting percentage. In conference matches, Bartkowiak is fifth with 3.84 points and sixth with 3.24 kills per set.
Dani On the Block: Danielle Killpack (Idaho Falls, Idaho) has led the Utes in blocks eight times this season and owns a team-high average of 1.18 blocks per set to rank third in the MWC statistical rankings. Killpack came up with a career-high 11 blocks at Wyoming on Oct. 15. She also chipped in five blocks in an Oct. 6 win over Weber State after coming up with what was then a career-high nine blocks to lead Utah against BYU on Sept. 25. Killpack has also made an impact for the Utes on the attack. In the Oct. 8 match against TCU, she connected for a career-high 10 kills for her first career double-digit output of her career. She also accumulated a match-high .716 hitting percentage, the highest mark of her career, by not committing an error on 14 attempts to go with a team-high five blocks.
Doubling Down: Cinthia Silva (San Paulo, Brazil), Stephanie Neeley (Saugus, Calif.), Bartkowiak and Simmons have combined for 22 double-double performances this season and now own 38 career double-doubles. Bartkowiak has 10 career double-doubles while Silva has nine. Neeley has two this season and 13 for her career while Simmons owns six over her career and five in 2009. Perhaps Bartkowiak's most impressive performance was a 23-kill, 17-dig night against BYU on Sept. 25. Simmons distributed 24 assists and had 14 digs in the rematch against BYU on Oct.23. Silva's last double-double came with 12 digs and 11 kills on Oct. 10 against New Mexico, while Neeley posted 11 assists and 10 digs at TCU on Nov. 7.
Sarah Hibbert (Anchorage, Alaska) has 11 double-digit-kill performances this season, including the Oct. 23 match at BYU with 10 kills to go along with six digs. Hibbert is also second on the team with 2.51 kills per set.
Back to the Basics: Utah is 14-0 when accumulating a higher hitting percentage, 12-2 when outblocking its opponents, and 7-1 when serving more aces than their opponents.
Aces in the Hole: Junior libero Keisha Fisher (Ririe, Idaho) tripled her previous career high with six service aces Oct. 31 against UNLV. Fisher now averages 0.25 aces per set in 2009 to rank seventh in the MWC. As a team, the Utes served a season-high nine aces Oct. 23 at BYU. Utah's previous season high was eight, a feat it matched three times.
Sandberg Shows Savvy: Senior Chelsey Sandberg (West Jordan, Utah) registered nine kills and tied for team-high honors Thursday against New Mexico by posting seven blocks in the match.
Sandberg is now in ninth place on the school's all-time block assist list with 304. She also moved into 10th place in school history with 324 career total blocks.
She entered this season with one double-digit-kill performance in her career, but now has five such performances this season alone. Sandberg hit a career-high with 14 kills for the second consecutive match Oct. 10 against TCU, the first coming against Weber State (Oct. 6).
Sandberg is now fifth in the MWC with 0.30 aces per set thanks to a total of 27 aces in 91 sets this season and also stands seventh in the league with a .298 hitting percentage. She also ranks second on the Ute squad with a 0.98 blocks per set.
Dual Setters: As part of Utah's 6-2 system, Neeley and Simmons have shared opportunities at the setter position for the Utes this season. Simmons stands 10th in the MWC with a 5.64 assist-per-set average, while Neeley is distributing 5.09 assists per set.
Neeley now has 1,7133 career assists and is now ninth place on Utah's all-time career list. Neeley is 47 assists behind tying Tracy Neumeier (2001-04) for eighth place in Utah history.
Making the Most of their Chances: The Utes have been efficient on the attack this season, ranking fourth in the league in hitting percentage with a .213 mark that is 29 percentage points behind first-place CSU.
Utah ranks sixth in the conference with 12.58 kills per set, led by Bartkowiak's 3.04 kill-per-set mark that is seventh in the MWC.
Getting Defensive: After limiting New Mexico to a .187 hitting percentage on Thursday, Utah has limited its opponents to a hitting percentage below .200 13 times this season. Not coincidentally, the Utes have come away with victories in 12 of those 13 contests.
Utah is currently ranked third in the MWC with 13.64 digs per set. Fisher leads the way for the Utes in the back row, coming up with 3.93 digs per set to rank fifth in the league. Fisher has reached double-figures in digs in 18 consecutive matches, 23 times this season, and 56 times in her career.
`C' for Versatility: Silva has five double-doubles this season and is third on the team in kills (2.40 k/s) and digs (2.03 d/s) and ranks fifth in blocks (0.62 b/s). She posted a team-high in kills for the fourth time this season with 13 Saturday at TCU. Silva led Utah in kills in consecutive matches with 11 against New Mexico on Oct. 10 and 16 at Wyoming on Oct. 15. Silva also turned in a team-high 12 digs Oct. 10 against New Mexico to become only the second Ute other than Fisher to lead the team in digs in 2009. Thursday at New Mexico, Silva came up with 12 kills and now has hit double-digits in kills 20 times in the last two years.
Lanting It Up: In her first start this season (second of her career), sophomore Jennifer Lanting (Corcoran, Calif.) led the Utes in blocks for the first time in her career Saturday at TCU. She posted five blocks and helped the Utes outblock the Horned Frogs, 8-7.
`Kenzie' Makes an Impact: Freshman McKenzie Odale (Eagle, Idaho) registered a pair of career-high marks Thursday at New Mexico. Odale came up with two digs and two assists in the second set against the Lobos.
Fast Starts: The Utes are 8-2 when winning the first set and a perfect 7-0 when up 2-0.
Utes in the Polls: Utah's highest ranking the AVCA Top-25 Coaches Poll this season was No. 17 on Aug. 18. Utah was listed in the poll on Sept. 7, receiving 75 votes and also received votes in the Sept. 8 Volleyball Magazine poll.
Launiere Reaches 400 Victories: An intense 3-2 win Sept. 25 over BYU in the first Deseret First Duel match of the season gave Beth Launiere her 400th career victory. Launiere currently owns a 406-221 (.648) mark in her 20th season at Utah, the only school at which she has been head coach. Launiere is a three-time AVCA West Region and MWC Coach of the Year.
Utes Picked to Win MWC: Utah was selected to repeat as MWC champions in the 2009 Preseason Coaches Poll. In addition, Bartkowiak was named to the Preseason All-MWC Team.
Launiere for President: Launiere has served as President of the AVCA since Jan. 1. Since 2004, she has guided volleyball on the national stage as a member of the AVCA Board of Directors.