PROVO It's not for Mountain West Conference supremacy, but tonight's BYU-Utah women's volleyball match still has major implications.
While the Cougars (9-4 in the MWC) and Utes (7-6), who meet at 7 at the Smith Fieldhouse, find themselves chasing first-place UNLV (10-2) and Colorado State (10-2) in the league standings, this is a rivalry game.
"Obviously, there is a lot of emotion associated with our matches against Utah," said BYU head coach Jason Watson.
In their first meeting of the season on Oct. 12, the Cougars edged the Utes in five games (25-30, 30-24, 30-23, 26-30, 15-7) in Salt Lake City. In that match senior outside hitter Chelsea Goodman recorded a rare triple double.
"We played very well against them in Salt Lake City earlier this season and hope to repeat that success here at home in front of a great crowd," Watson said.
BYU owns a 63-21 advantage in the all-time series, but Utah has won 15 of the last 20 matches.
The Cougars finished up its road schedule last weekend by posting victories at TCU and New Mexico. Junior middle blocker Rachel Dyer averaged 3.31 kills, a .425 hitting percentage and 1.30 blocks per game en route to receiving MWC player of the week honors. Dyer is No. 1 in the MWC and ranks No. 7 in the country in attack percentage.
Goodman leads the team in kills, averaging 4.37 per game and boasts a team-high 30 service aces. She is moving up the charts on BYU's all-time lists. Goodman is eighth in career kills (1,331) and seventh in career digs (992). Her average of 3.58 digs per game ranks third in BYU history.
The Utes posted a 1-2 record last week with losses at Utah State and TCU before upending New Mexico. In those matches, Kathryn Haynie led Utah with 4.36 kills per game while Lori Baird recorded 3.09 kills and a .365 hitting percentage.
Baird leads the Utes and is seventh in the MWC in hitting percentage (.306). She also ranks second in the MWC in blocks with 1.57 per game.Tonight's match is the second volleyball match of the Deseret First Duel rivalry series, and it counts for three points of the 64-point total. Utah leads the rivalry series, 6-3, after the Utes' 1-0 victory over BYU in soccer, which gave Utah six points.