Women’s volleyball devours their competition

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    By Brian Hintze

    Like a cougar stalking its prey, the BYU women’s volleyball team thrashed its competition this weekend, sweeping both Air Force and New Mexico in three straight games.

    The Cougars beat the Falcons Friday night, Oct. 13, in 55 minutes 15-5, 15-1, and 15-1 and continued the dominance Saturday, Oct. 14, verses the Lobos 15-6, 15-1, and 15-0.

    “After last week (against Utah) we realized that we were sick of playing like that,” said All-American middle blocker Nina Puikkonen. “So this week we had a really good week of practice where everybody came refocused and came with a desire to start playing to our potential.”

    Six cougars hit .500 or above against New Mexico with the team posting a .404 combined attack average.

    There was nothing Air Force could do to stop the Cougar freight train with every player getting a piece of the action.

    Michelle Otteson saw her first action of the year Friday night and she stunned the opposition, starting the third game with eight straight service points.

    The BYU defense came up huge once again placing a wall in front of the Falcons, holding them to a -.134 attack rate and digging 28 balls in the short match.

    For an encore, the Cougars demolished the Lobos recording their first “skunk” of a team this year beating them 15-0 to end the match.

    BYU showed their new hunger for success Saturday night with a strong finish against the Lobos.

    They finished the third game hitting .500 as a team and never lost the fire in their eyes.

    “I think if we never consider ourselves comfortable and come out every game expecting the opposition to play their best we can keep this determination,” Puikkonen said.

    Jackie Bundy and All-American Sunny Tonga lead the Cougars in kills Saturday with 14 and 13, respectively.

    Despite their high level of play the team is not comfortable with their current level of success.

    “This past week we’ve really worked on never letting down and making every ball count. We’ve started to make the adjustment but we have a ways to go,” Tonga said.

    BYU will take their game on the road this week playing three road games in three nights.

    They will open Wednesday night, Oct. 18, in Malibu against national powerhouse Pepperdine, then head to UNLV Thursday, Oct. 19, and finish up at San Diego State on Friday, Oct. 20.

    After this weekend we can have a little better gauge as to where we are at, said BYU head coach Elaine Michaelis.

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