Women’s volleyball team upset by Colorado State

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    By ROSEMARY LARSEN

    After an easy win against Wyoming Friday, BYU’s fifth-ranked women’s volleyball team faced a tough upset Saturday, losing to 19th-ranked Colorado State.

    All-American middle blocker Amy Steele Gant exploded for 16 kills and nine blocks to lead the Cougar team to a 15-10, 15-2, 15-4 victory over Wyoming Friday night in Laramie.

    Gant also added 10 digs and a .538 hitting percentage to her stats for the night.

    The Cougars’ middles dominated the match, with senior Rachel Greene putting down eight kills, hitting .667 and logging six blocks. While Helen Hjorth also had six blocks on the outside, freshman Melissa Layton recorded six kills and Heather Whittaker had four blocks in just one game.

    “Our middles played really well,” said BYU head coach Elaine Michaelis. “Wyoming depends on its middle attack and our middles just controlled them. We also had an awfully good serving night and that helped keep their middles out of it as well.”

    Overall, the Cougars’ defense shone as it recorded 17 blocks and 58 digs in just three games. Andrea Petrilli led BYU in digs with 12 followed closely by Hjorth’s 11.

    The Cowgirls, with a 14-10 record, hit .055 as a team and had only seven team blocks.

    The win marked the 24th-straight year that Michaelis has recorded 20 or more wins in a season with a record of 20-4.

    The fifth-ranked Cougars then moved on to put their perfect 10-0 WAC mark to the test against Colorado State Saturday in Fort Collins, where everything worked for the Rams and nothing worked for the Cougars. CSU prevailed in four games, 15-8, 3-15, 15-11, 15-6.

    “We ran into a very hot team today,” Michaelis said. “They played very well and we didn’t play well at all.”

    Michaelis said she was expecting a very competitive match, especially from CSU’s seniors Rainie Rogers and Judy Rexroth. “They have a very strong offensive team and their seniors are going to come out fired up to try to beat the Cougars in their last chance at their place,” Michaelis said.

    Rogers led the CSU offense with 17 kills and 13 digs. Rexroth displayed her eagerness to beat the Cougars with 15 kills and a .483 hitting percentage. She also had nine digs and seven blocks for the Rams.

    CSU pulled it off, holding the Cougars to an overall hitting percentage of .166, far below their .293 percentage for the season. Three Cougar players had a negative hitting percentage.

    BYU had a strong game defensively with 16 team blocks and held Colorado State to .209, also well under the Rams’ .300 1997 percentage.

    Gant paced the Cougars, recording 24 kills, hitting .364 and logging 12 blocks. Korie Rogers added 12 kills, a .241 percentage, 18 digs and seven blocks.

    The loss drops BYU to 20-5 for the season, 10-1 in the WAC Mountain Division. Colorado State is 21-3 for the year and is tied with BYU for the Mountain Division lead at 10-1.

    The Cougars return to Provo for their final WAC home matches Friday and Saturday when they host UNLV and Air Force.

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