MWC Volleyball Race Coming Down to Wire

The race for the regular season Mountain West Conference women’s volleyball crown is coming close to the finish line, with three teams competing for the title.

As expected, Colorado State, Utah and BYU are all vying for the title. Colorado State has the overall lead, however, the race is far from over.

The Rams are on fire and are playing at an amazing level. Not losing a match and dominating almost all team statistical categories is what Colorado State has accomplished, as of this point.

Angela Knopf, Soraya Santos, Michelle Knox, Beckey Sarauer and Courtney Cox have provided more offensive options for assist leader Allison Peckham to utilize.

The Rams are 7-0 in conference play and have a two-game lead on BYU and Utah.

However, the largest weekend of the season before the conference tournament will be on Nov. 2 and 3, as Colorado State has to travel to face Utah and BYU.

BYU will have to regroup after the two straight defeats it suffered to in-state rivals, Utah State and Utah.

The Cougars will have an easy time as they head out for a three-game road trip starting with Sacramento State and finishing with conference opponents New Mexico and Air Force.

The good news for the Cougars is that Nina Puikkonen is finally playing up to her standards after injuries have plagued her throughout the season.

“We haven’t played our best during the past several weeks, but we did play pretty well in our last match, even though we lost at Utah. We want to build upon that effort and get back into the win column this week,” said BYU coach Elaine Michaelis.

Utah is playing extremely well and has been unbeatable at home all season, at 11-0. The No. 15 ranking the Utes have earned ties the highest ranking they have ever received, and it should be eclipsed in the next poll, as they beat No. 25 Utah State on Tuesday.

The Utes will play New Mexico and Air Force this weekend, which should not pose a problem, as the Lobos and the Falcons are the worst teams in the conference.

Meanwhile, San Diego State is only three games back of Colorado State but will probably not catch them. The Aztecs are an overachieving middle-of-the-road team in the conference; they have thrived on beating the lesser teams of the MWC.

The Aztecs played tough against BYU but were pummeled by Utah and will look for redemption at home against both teams on Nov. 9 and Nov. 10

Before that, the Aztecs will head to Fort Collins, Colo., to square off against the Rams on Oct. 27.

UNLV is out of the race for the MWC title, though the Rebels do have some talent to make some noise in the MWC Tournament, as Blair Wilkes is second in the conference in killing percentage, at .392.

The Wyoming Cowgirls are 3 4 in conference play and are not looking at the conference title, but are looking to catch UNLV for the fifth slot in conference tournament.

That spot is a huge key for Wyoming or UNLV, because the team would face San Diego State instead of BYU, Utah or Colorado State.

Air Force and New Mexico are two teams that have not produced at all this year. The Falcons are still looking to snap their 26-match conference losing streak dating back to last year, however, they will probably not find a win this season.

The Lobos are slightly better than the Falcons but will not make any huge effect upon the tournament.

New Mexico does not have much talent on the team, but unlike Air Force, the Lobos play as a team, which has lead them to one more win than Air Force.

Overall, the Mountain West has been quite predictable up to this point in this season, however, Nov. 2 and 3 will shape the Mountain West Conference Tournament, as Colorado State will visit Salt Lake City and Provo to prove who is going to be the first seed in the Mountain West Tournament.

[email protected]