PROVO -- The BYU women's volleyball team will begin the second half of Mountain West Conference action this week as the Cougars travel to face league-leader and No. 21 Colorado State on Thursday. At 13-5 overall and 5-3 in the MWC, BYU is currently tied for third place in the conference standings, two matches behind the Rams (13-4, 7-1).
"We have put ourselves in the hunt for the MWC title," said BYU head coach Jason Watson. "Now we have to play well on the road and take care of our side of the net. This is a very important match for us in terms of the conference race and our NCAA Tournament aspirations."
The Cougars are coming off an emotional match as they defeated Utah on Friday night in Salt Lake City for the first time since 2000. Senior outside hitter Chelsea Goodman had a tremendous performance for the Utes as she posted the first Cougar triple-double since 2004 with 21 kills, 11 digs and 12 blocks, doubling her previous career blocking mark. The victory came on the strength of 26 team blocks (52 block assists), which ranks fourth all-time in BYU history and tied for fourth in MWC history. In addition to tremendous play from Goodman, the Cougars also had spectacular nights from Ashton Hansen (11 kills, 13 blocks), Rachel Dyer (11 kills, 12 blocks) and Erica Lott (10 kills, 12 digs).
BYU will be playing its 12th road match of the season with its contest at CSU this week. The Cougars have gone 8-3 in their prior contests away from home. Goodman leads the team in kills at 4.42 per game, which is fourth in the league. She also ranks among the top 10 in digs and points.
Colorado State has also been playing well as of late, winning 13 of its last 14 matches including a five-game victory over BYU on Sept. 22 in the Smith Fieldhouse. The Rams currently top the MWC in hitting (.276), kills per game (17.08) and blocks per game (3.52). Junior middle blocker Mekana Barnes is second in the conference with a .409 hitting efficiency while boasting a league-leading 1.84 blocks per game. She is also eighth in the league in kills with 3.85. Junior outside hitter Jaime Strauss is sixth in the MWC in kills with a Ram-high 4.20 per contest while adding 2.33 digs per contest, second on the team.
Thursday's 7 p.m. match will be available live on GameTracker or on KCSU Radio. The match will be televised nationally tape-delay on Sunday at 6 p.m. on CSTV and re-aired on Oct. 24 at 8 p.m. on The Mtn.