The women's volleyball teams of BYU and Utah, both among the standout programs at both schools, will kick off the Deseret First Duel tonight at 7 on Utah's Crimson Court.
The new rivalry series incorporates competition in 12 sports between the two schools, and a point system will determine the winner in head-to-head competition through the school year. This very first competition is worth three points of the 64 available.
Oh, and tonight's match will at least momentarily break a tie between the two schools which, along with TCU, are 4-3 and an unusual fourth in the Mountain West Conference.
Last weekend, BYU (13-5 overall) swept TCU Friday but lost Saturday to New Mexico while Utah (7-9) swept New Mexico Friday but lost to TCU Saturday. The Cougars since beat Utah Valley 3-1.
BYU leads the series against 54-21, but Utah has won the last four.
The Cougars are led by senior outside hitter Chelsea Goodman, on conference top-10 lists in kills, digs, aces and points. She is one double-double from tying the league career record. She's had four straight, including 16 kills and 12 digs against New Mexico, 18/17 vs. TCU and 12/13 vs. UVSC.
For the first time since Sept. 12, 2005, though, the Cougars do not appear in the national coaches' Top 25 poll, though they're still receiving votes.
Utah leads the league in opponent hitting percentage, just .159, and has twice held foes under .100.
It's a miffed team after losing what looked like another 3-0 win Saturday. Utah won the first two games and was up 24-23 in the third when TCU made a push the Utes couldn't stop.Senior Whitney Webb has led in the last three matches with 3.67 kills a game, .287 hitting and 11 total blocks. She had 19 kills in the loss to TCU. Sophomore Chelsey Sandberg is coming off a strong weekend that included career highs of 10 kills and .562 hitting over New Mexico and seven kills vs. TCU.