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PROVO, Utah (Nov. 9, 2007) - In front of a record crowd of 4,509 in the Smith Fieldhouse, the BYU women's volleyball team swept Utah for the first time since 2001 with a 30-27, 30-27, 30-25 victory on Friday night. The win also meant the first season sweep of the Utes since 1999 after a five-game win in Salt Lake City earlier this year, allowing the Cougars to secure the women's volleyball Deseret First Duel trophy and improve to 18-6 overall and 10-4 in the Mountain West Conference.
"These matches are always emotional and draining on our athletes," said BYU head coach Jason Watson. "To be able to pull away like we did is a wonderful accomplishment for our athletes."
Senior co-captain Chelsea Goodman led the way for BYU offensively with 17 kills while reigning MWC Player of the Week Rachel Dyer added 13 kills on .571 hitting. Senior Erica Lott also posted double-digit winners with 10 to go along with a team-high 12 digs, notching her seventh double-double of the season. Cougar setter Amy Schlauder averaged 16.0 assists per game while pacing BYU to a .326 hitting percentage.
"Tonight was just fun," said Schlauder. "It's so great to see the crowd in their Deseret First Duel t-shirts getting riled up. They were a big part of the win tonight."
Bryn Porter brought the fans to their feet on the first point of the night as she put down a cross-court kill. The Cougars weathered several ties early in game one while playing the part of the aggressor until a double call gave Utah its first lead at 8-7. However, moments later, Porter swung the game back in BYU's favor with two kills during a 4-0 Cougar spurt to give BYU a 12-9 advantage. The lead would stretch to 16-10 as the Cougars dominated offensively, hitting .600 (9-0-15) through the first 15 points of the game.
The Utes began to climb back after the media timeout, putting together three straight points to cut the lead in half until Dyer ended the Ute run. Leading 17-13, the Cougars kept the momentum in their favor and stayed at least two points in front to the 30-27 win.
Utah came out fast in game two, scoring the first two points and building a 10-8 lead. However, a 7-0 Cougar run including two kills from Ashton Hansen allowed BYU to take a commanding 15-10 lead at the halfway mark. Trailing 17-11, the Utes fought back with four straight points of their own to cut the lead to two until Goodman got the Cougars going again with a tremendous kill down the line to spark a BYU spurt that put the Cougars in front 20-15. The Utes weren't done yet, though, we they came back to tie the game at 23-23, setting up a fight to the finish. Porter put BYU back on top with a kill and an ace, and the Cougars finished out the 30-27 victory.
With their backs against the wall, Utah took an early advantage in game three, but Goodman kept BYU in it with three early kills until the Cougars finally took the lead at 7-6. The high hitting percentages of games one and two gave way to more defensive play in game three, but BYU adjusted accordingly with a 13-10 lead. Utah came within one at 17-16, but Dyer put down back-to-back slams to spark a 4-0 Cougar run and put BYU on top 21-16. That lead would build to 27-20 before the Cougars put the match away with a 30-25 win.
BYU will conclude the regular season with two home matches next weekend against San Diego State on Friday and UNLV on Saturday. Both matches will begin at 7 p.m. in the Smith Fieldhouse and be televised live on BYUTV.
"We always want to be good in November and make our case for the NCAA selection committee," said Watson. "Tonight's win helped us build upon what we've already accomplished over the last few weeks and strengthen our case for the tournament. We also had a nice crowd tonight, which helps people see that we have a lot of support here. We hope that will continue next week."