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BYU volleyball: top two WCC teams battle on ESPNU

By Rachel Hawks

For the Deseret News

Published: Monday, Oct. 29 2012 3:48 p.m. MDT

PROVO, Utah — In a battle to lead the West Coast Conference, No. 17 BYU women’s volleyball welcomes No. 18 San Diego to the Smith Fieldhouse on Wednesday.

The match begins at 8 p.m. MDT and will air on ESPNU, BYU’s first match on an ESPN Network since the Cougars faced then-No. 1 Penn State in the 2007 NCAA Regional Championship on ESPNU.

The Cougars will also face Loyola Marymount at home Saturday at 1 p.m. MDT.

The Cougars are 21-2 on the season and 9-2 in conference play after two road wins against Gonzaga and Portland on Thursday and Saturday, respectively. San Diego, tied with BYU for first place in the WCC, comes off a loss to Santa Clara on Saturday, which put the Toreros' record at 17-4 and 9-2 in league.

The two losses on both teams’ conference records were to Saint Mary’s and Santa Clara. BYU lost to both teams on the road, and San Diego lost to Saint Mary’s on the road and Santa Clara at home.

BYU looks to defend its undefeated home record (8-0) against San Diego, which holds a 5-3 road record this season.

At opposite hitter, 6-foot-7 Jennifer Hamson averages 3.92 kills per set to lead the Cougars. Setter Heather Hannemann collects 11.31 assists per set and libero Tia Withers has 2.78 digs per set.

Middle blocker Nicole Warner, No. 1 in NCAA Division I volleyball in blocks, averages 1.75 blocks per set.

San Diego

The Toreros last faced the Cougars in 2011 and came away with a 3-1 win. San Diego leads the series with BYU 3-1-0.

San Diego relies on middle hitters Chloe Ferrari and Katie Hoekman to lead the offense. Ferrari averages 2.79 kills per set and Hoekman averages 2.64. Hoekman also leads in blocks with 1.11 per set.

Setter Rachel Alvey helps out with 4.11 assists per set, and libero Kandiss Anderson leads the team in digs with 4.11.

San Diego looks to end a two-match losing streak after last week’s loss to Saint Mary’s.

Loyola Marymount

Loyola Marymount is 14-10 on the season and 5-6 in conference. The Lions are coming off a 3-0 win against Gonzaga.

In BYU’s last meeting with the Lions this season, the Cougars took the 3-2 victory. BYU leads the series 5-0-0.

Outside hitter Kathleen Luft leads the team with 4.00 kills per set helped out by setter Hannah Tedrow’s 8.77 assists average. Middle blocker Litara Keil contributes 1.12 blocks per set and defensive specialist Betsi Metter has 4.75 digs per set.

How to watch

The match against San Diego will be broadcast on ESPNU and a live stats link is available on the women’s volleyball schedule page. The match can also be viewed online on the Watch ESPN page.

Fans can watch the match against Loyola Marymount on BYUtv or byutvsports.com. Live stats are also available on the schedule page.

Prior to the San Diego match, fans can attend a Halloween party in the annex of the Smith Fieldhouse (west of the volleyball court) to trick or treat and hang out with BYU athletes. The event begins at 6 p.m. and will end when the match starts. A special family pass for the San Diego match will be available for $10.

Rachel Hawks is the women's volleyball sports information director for BYU Athletic Communications.

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