Coming into Friday night's match with BYU, the 23rd-ranked Utes were tied with 16th-ranked Colorado State atop the MWC standings.

A victory would ensure that Utah could play next week for the league title, and the Utes took care of business — but it wasn't easy. The Cougars took the match to a fifth set before Utah prevailed, 25-16, 29-31, 16-25, 25-20, 15-11.

The momentum shifts came nearly every point in this match. In the fourth game, with the Utes down two games to one, Carolina Bartkowiak took over for the Utes.

"I told myself you are not going to lose this game," said Barkowiak, who was named match MVP. "Whatever I had to do. I was going to do it."

This was the 13th season for coach Beth Launiere to garner 20 wins for the Utes.

"There are a lot of ways to win a volleyball match," she said, "and we get good support from a lot of good players."

To begin the fifth game, Lori Baird came out on fire, scoring the first three points. Up to that time she only had six kills in 26 attempts.

"I realized I had nothing to lose," she said, "and there were a lot of people on our team that wanted to win this match."

The atmosphere was charged in Crimson Court.

"I think we were really tense in both the first set and the fifth set," BYU coach Shay Goulding said.

The statistics were spread pretty even for Utah. Kathryn Haynie led in kills with 15 but Bartkowiak had 13 and a hitting percentage of .455.

Next up for Utah is Wyoming on Thursday at 7 p.m.


E-MAIL: wjewkes@desnews.com