Volleyball Hosts Two From MWC

The term ?must-win? has become a staple in many teams, and now it has hit the University of Utah?s volleyball team.

The Utes are 9-4 overall and have a conference record of 3-2. UNLV and San Diego State are coming into town to face Utah and BYU.

If the Utes drop the two contests this weekend, they will fall three or four games out of first place and will have a tough time winning the Mountain West conference.

Both games are at home, which gives the Utes a significant advantage considering they are undefeated at Crimson Court.

UNLV is coming in with a 5-7 overall record, 2-3 in conference play.

The Rebels are outmatched against Utah, but have had great individual play out of Blair Wilkes, Michelle Johnson and Sheila Clemente.

Wilkes is leading the team with a very good attack percentage of .319. Johnson completely tore up the Aztecs with 16 kills even though UNLV lost.

Last, but definitely not least, is Clemente. She is leading the nation in blocks, currently averaging 2.19 blocks a game.

However, the team?s overall play has been mediocre, and the all-around play of the Utes should result in a domination of the Rebels.

The San Diego State Aztecs will be a more formidable opponent since they are ahead of the Utes in the conference. However, SDSU is 0-2 against ranked opponents.

San Diego won the last time they squared off against the Utes in five games.

The team burst out with a complete offensive barrage against UNLV last week, which included two players totaling 43 kills.

Zlatina Anguelova slammed 24 kills against UNLV and is the leader of the Aztecs.

Katie Magunnson has been on a tear with 10 or more kills in her last four games, and she had 19 against UNLV.

Defensively, the Aztecs are led by sophomore Meghan Schumann, who leads the team with 1.15 blocks per game.

Utah?s all-around play will have to come in full effect against the Aztecs.

Sylva Strzinkov, McKelle Stilson, Alisa Geddes, Adrianne Bradley?Drake and Kim Turner are leading Utah, and to win both matches, the five will have to come through as a team.

All five players are averaging at least 2.19 kills per game, with Strzinkov leading the team with 3.55.

Jackie Morril and Kelsie Kartchner will be the primary setters for the Utes. Both played very well against Wyoming last weekend.

Utah has the edge on both teams and should beat them, considering the games are at home.

Coach Beth Launiere realizes the significance of playing in Salt Lake City. She said, “Every match is important at this point in conference play. We’re excited that seven of our last 11 matches are at home, and we need to take advantage of that. We’ve been pretty good at home this season, and we’re hoping to continue that trend.

Utah will square off against UNLV tonight at 7 and will face the Aztecs Saturday night at 7, both at Crimson Court.

[email protected]