Abby Simmons and the Utes take on San Diego State and Air Force in a pair of MWC road matches this weekend.
Nov. 16, 2009
The University of Utah volleyball team brings its Mountain West Conference schedule to a close with matches at San Diego State and Air Force this weekend. The Utes take on the Aztecs Thursday at 6:30 p.m. PT., then will face the Falcons Saturday at 1 p.m. MT.
The Mountain West Sports Network will air a live telecast of Thursday's match at SDSU. Anne Marie Anderson will have the play-by-play call and Amy Gant will provide the color analysis. A live webcast will also be available at http://goaztecs.cstv.com/library/live-volleyball.html, while live stats will also be available at goaztecs.com.
Live audio for Saturday's match at Air Force can be found at http://www.goairforcefalcons.com/ot/afa-live-audio.html. Live stats can be found at goairofrcefalcons.com.
Utah snapped its three-match losing streak with a 3-0 sweep of Wyoming and is now 16-10 overall. The Utes stand fourth in the MWC with a 9-5 conference record, but are even in the loss column with New Mexico. The Utes can end the conference slate in at least a tie for third place by winning both of this weekend's matches.
San Diego State has won three of its last four and owns at 13-13 mark overall. The Aztecs are 6-8 in the conference, a mark that has them sixth in the MWC.
Air Force is in the midst of a 15-match losing streak, a stretch that started with its last meeting against Utah on Sept. 17 in Salt Lake City. The Falcons are 8-19 overall and ninth in the MWC with an 0-14 record.
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Last Time Out: Chelsey Sandberg (West Jordan, Utah) and Cinthia Silva (San Paulo, Brazil) both had impressive performances on Senior Day to help Utah sweep Wyoming (25-17, 25-18, 25-20) in the final regular-season home match of the 2009 regular season Saturday at Crimson Court.
Utah hit for a .231 percentage while limiting Wyoming to a .028 mark, the lowest percentage for a Utah opponent this season. The Utes also came up with a season-high 12 blocks for a three-set match this season.
Scouting the Aztecs: San Diego State is third in the MWC with 13.00 kills per set this season. Lauren Salisbury (2.74 k/s) and Kelsey Manasco (2.73 k/s) have been the Aztecs' top hitters this season. Salisbury is third in the MWC with a .345 hitting percentage. Setter Lauren Van Orden leads the league with 11.02 assists per set. At the net, Andrea Hannash ranks fourth in the MWC with 1.14 blocks per set.
SDSU Series History: The Utes own a 22-18 edge in the all-time series. Utah has taken each of the last four matches and 12 of the last 13 sets.
Last Time Against SDSU: Utah swept San Diego State, 3-0 (28-26, 25-19, 25-15), for the 16th of what would be 19 consecutive MWC victories Sept. 19 at Crimson Court. The victory was the 399th in the career of head coach Beth Launiere.
As a team, the Utes outhit the Aztecs .233 to .140, marking the fifth time this season Utah has limited its opponents to a hitting percentage below .150 and are now 5-0 in those matches. The Utes also served a season-high-tying eight aces.
Scouting the Falcons: Air Force attackers Caroline Kurtz and Nichole Stillwell average more than 2.50 kills per set this season. Caroline Kurtz leads the team and is seventh in the conference with 3.02 kills per set. Kurtz is also fourth in the league with 0.30 service aces per set. Stillwell, the Sept. 14 MWC Co-Player of the Week, registers 2.59 kills per set. The Falcons rank fourth in the MWC with 1.26 aces per set, while setter Jessica Hellman is seventh in the MWC with 7.75 assists per set.
Air Force Series History: Utah has never lost to the Air Force Academy in 22 meetings, in a series that started in 1999.
Last Time Against Air Force: Sandberg hit a then-career-high 12 kills and Silva had 10 digs, seven kills and four blocks as Utah earned a 3-1 win (25-20, 25-20, 23-25, 25-14) against Air Force in the MWC opener for both teams Sept. 17 at Crimson Court.
As a team, Utah outhit Air Force .235 to .125 and also earned a 12-5 advantage in blocks. The Utes had seven service aces with six errors compared to nine aces and 15 errors for the Falcons.
Karolina Carries the Utes: Junior opposite hitter Karolina Bartkowiak (Aurora, Ill.) tied for match-high honors with nine kills in Saturday's sweep of Wyoming at Crimson Court. Bartkowiak took 18 swings against the Cowgirls and only committed two errors for a team-high .389 hitting percentage. She also added eight digs and two blocks.
Thursday against Colorado State, Bartkowiak posted a team-high 13 kills on 31 swings with six errors for a .226 hitting percentage. She also added 13 digs for her 10th career double-double, all coming this season.
Bartkowiak has hit double-digits in kills 18 times this season and 32 times in her career. For digs, she has 14 double-figure performances that have all occurred this season.
The Aurora, Ill., native currently ranks sixth in the MWC with 3.05 kills and 3.60 points per set and stands sixth with a .281 hitting percentage. In conference matches only, Bartkowiak is fourth with 3.79 points per set and fifth with 3.23 kills per set.
Sept. 19 against San Diego State, Bartkowiak finished two digs shy of her fourth career double-double. She put together an impressive all-around performance with a match-high 12 kills, came up with eight digs and set a new season-high mark with six blocks.
Sandberg in Utah Record Books: Sandberg is eighth in school history with 314 block assists and is 38 away from Whitney Webb (2004-07), who is seventh place in Utah history with 352 in her career. Sandberg is also ninth in the Utah record book with 334 total blocks.
Killpack Block Party: Danielle Killpack (Idaho Falls, Idaho) has led or tied for the team lead in blocks for the Utes 10 times this season. Killpack owns a team-high average of 1.23 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.
Lanting Living Large: Sophomore middle blocker Jennifer Lanting (Corcoran, Calif.) posted a career-high six blocks and helped the Utes post a season high for a three-set match with 12 Saturday against the Cowgirls. Lanting has led or tied for the team lead in blocks twice this season.
In her first start this season (second of her career), Lanting led the Utes in blocks for the first time in her career Nov. 7 at TCU. She posted five blocks and helped the Utes outblock the Horned Frogs, 8-7.
Hyping Hibbert: Sophomore outside hitter Sarah Hibbert (Anchorage, Alaska) registered her seventh double-figure-kill performance of the season Sept. 19 against SDSU with 10 kills on 23 swings with just a pair of miscues for a .348 hitting percentage.
Hibbert has 11 double-digit-kill performances this season, including the Oct. 23 match at BYU with 10 kills and six digs. Hibbert is second on the team with 2.44 kills per set.
Double-Figure Utes: Silva, Bartkowiak, Stephanie Neeley (Saugus, Calif.) and Abby Simmons (Phoenix, Ariz.) have combined for 24 double-double performances this season and now own 40 career double-doubles.
Bartkowiak has 11 career double-doubles, all coming this season. Silva has nine for her career, with five coming in 2009. Neeley has three this season and 14 for her career while Simmons owns six over her career and five in 2009.
Bartkowiak's most complete performance this season was a 23-kill, 17-dig effort against BYU on Sept. 25. Simmons distributed a career-high 33 assists and had 12 digs at Utah State on Sept. 8. Silva's most impressive double-double came with 17 kills and 12 digs against TCU on Oct. 12, while Neeley posted 28 assists and 12 digs against the Horned Frogs in the same match.
Aces Up their Sleeve: Junior libero Keisha Fisher (Ririe, Idaho) tripled her previous career high with six service aces Oct. 31 against UNLV. Fisher now averages 0.24 aces per set in 2009 to tie for ninth 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.
Dual Setters: In 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 5.52 assist-per-set average, while Neeley is distributing 5.18 assists per set.
Neeley now has 1,7178 career assists and is now ninth place on Utah's all-time career list. Neeley is only two assists behind tying Tracy Neumeier (2001-04) for eighth place in Utah history.
Getting Defensive: After limiting New Mexico to a .187 hitting percentage on Nov. 5, Utah has held its opponents to a hitting percentage below .200 14 times this season. Not coincidentally, the Utes have come away with victories in 13 of those 14 contests.
Saturday against Wyoming, Utah came up with a season-high 12 blocks for a three-set match. Three different Utes (Killpack, Lanting, and Sandberg) tied for match-high honors with six blocks apiece.
In the back row, Utah is currently ranked third in the MWC with 13.72 digs per set. The Utes posted a conference-high 97 digs in their 3-1 win over TCU on Oct. 8.
Fisher leads the way with 3.91 digs per set to rank fifth in the league. The Ririe, Idaho native had her double-figure-dig match streak snapped at 19 with a nine-dig performance Saturday in a three-set match against Wyoming. Fisher has come up with double-digits in digs 24 times this season and 57 times in her career.
Fast Starts: The Utes are 9-2 when winning the first set of their matches this season and a perfect 8-0 when taking the first two sets of a match.
Utes Love the Small Screen: Utah is 7-1 in televised matches since 2008, with its first loss in that span coming Thursday against Colorado State. The Utes have dropped only six sets during this stretch.
Launiere Reaches 400 Victories: An intense 3-2 win Sept. 25 over BYU in the first Deseret First Duel match of the season gave Launiere her 400th career victory. Launiere currently owns a 407-222 (.647) 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.
Utah Signs Four: Utah has signed four student-athletes for the 2010 season, Launiere announced Friday. Opposite hitter Yiting Cao (Shanghai, China), libero Charlee Dyroff (Boulder, Colo.), outside hitter Morgan Odale (Eagle, Idaho), and middle blocker/outside hitter Erin Redd (Spanish Fork, Utah) have signed to play for the Utes in 2010.