Clash of the volleyball titans

By and

The No. 18 Utah volleyball team has won 10 straight matches. In order to continue the success, it must defeat its conference nemesis, No. 7 Colorado State. The showdown is set for 7 p.m. Friday night.

The Rams (13-1) are on a streak of their own, having tallied 13 straight victories after suffering an opening match setback versus No. 5 Minnesota. Like the Utes, they are 5-0 in conference.

Ute coach Beth Launiere is getting pumped up to play the conference favorites. “We have been looking forward to playing CSU all season long,” Launiere said. “It’s a big match.”

Utah will have to be firing on all cylinders, as CSU features the best attack in the conference. The Rams lead the Mountain West in hitting percentage (.303), kills per game (17.58), and assists per game (16.06). Katie Shirley-Cahoon is the individual leader with a .394 hitting percentage and 3.06 kills per game.

Utah counters with a strong defensive team. Lyndsey Henderson ranks 19th in the country with 1.62 blocks per game. The Utes as a team are 15th in the nation at 3.10 per game. The U is also leading the conference in opponent hitting percentage, holding foes to a meager .129.

Henderson is also boasting some strong attack stats. She has had double-digit kills in the last 13 matches, with a 3.49 kills per game average over the entire season. She led the team in kills in six out of the last seven matches.

The road trip continues Saturday, when Utah is in Laramie to play the Cowgirls of Wyoming. The Pokes are 8-8, with a conference record of 2-3. While the record may not be impressive, Wyoming is 5-1 on their home court.

Launiere isn’t discounting the Cowgirls. “They are going to be just as tough as Colorado State. Laramie is a tough place to play.”

Wyoming features Sara Maytorena, who is second in conference with 3.85 kills per game. She also leads the team with a .291 hitting percentage.

After the road trip, the Utes head home for four straight matches. They square off against non-conference opponent Notre Dame on Oct. 19 at 7 p.m. and against host rival BYU Oct. 23 at 1 p.m. New Mexico will visit Crimson Court Oct. 29 and Air Force will come calling Oct. 30.

[email protected]