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Volleyball sweeps for Cougs, Utes

SHARE Volleyball sweeps for Cougs, Utes

PROVO — BYU's women's volleyball team improved to 8-1 on the season by defeating New Mexico in three games Friday night, 30-18, 30-21, 30-15. The Cougars are 2-0 in the Mountain West Conference this season, while New Mexico dropped to 2-8 overall and 0-3 in conference play.

"When you play a young team like we did tonight you need to work on your goals," BYU coach Elaine Michaelis said. "We improved our team attack percentage and we made less errors."

The Cougars dominated the match against the young Lobo squad, hitting .457 on the night with 54 team kills. Senior Jackie Bundy led BYU with a match-high 15 kills, six blocks and two service aces.

"Jackie played really well," Michaelis said. "Her hits were right where they needed to be and she made few errors."

Nina Puikkonen added 10 kills and one block assist to the Cougar victory, while Sunny Mahe put down 13 kills with a .647 attack percentage. Puikkonen's block assist ties her with Amy Steele Gant in second place on BYU's all-time total blocks list. Karina Puikkonen recorded 40 assists in a quick three-game match, while adding five kills and three blocks to her effort.

New Mexico's Malena Thompson led the Lobos with 12 kills, five digs and three blocks.

The match, played in front of a 1,160 fans at the Smith Fieldhouse, lasted an hour and fifteen minutes. Michaelis was able to clear the bench and give all 10 available players a chance to play.

BYU hosts Air Force Saturday at 8 p.m. in the Smith Fieldhouse while the Lobos travel to Salt Lake to meet Utah.

UTES SWEEP AIR FORCE: The No. 22-ranked University of Utah women's volleyball team defeated the Air Force Falcons in three games, 30-17, 30-13, 30-19, on Friday at Crimson Court. Utah improves to 7-3 overall, 1-1 in the MWC. Air Force falls to 1-8 on the season, 0-3 in MWC play.

Junior Sylva Strzinkova led the Utes with 14 kills for a career-high .571 hitting percentage and six digs. Teammates McKelle Stilson, Alisa Geddes, Kim Turner and Adrianne Drake each totaled eight kills in the match. Stilson had a .571 hitting percentage and added three total blocks on the night. Geddes racked up 10 digs, while Turner tallied six total blocks. Freshman setter Kelsie Kartchner racked-up 30 assists and Tracy Neumeier added 10 assists in the match. As a team Utah posted an impressive .444 hitting percentage and 9.0 total team blocks.

For the Falcons, Delavane Diaz totaled 16 kills for a .219 hitting percentage and seven digs. Kristin Huitt posted 21 assists in the match. Air Force hit for just .022, adding 2.0 total team blocks.

"We set some goals that had to do with our side of the net tonight and we took care of business," said coach Beth Launiere. "Physically we are at a different level than Air Force. I respect their team because they always come to play and play tough. At the same time, I am proud of the way our team competed at a high level of play."