Volleyball Upsets No. 19 BYU In First Round Of NCAA Tournament
Nov. 29, 2001
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah - Michelle Matheson tied her career-high with 20 kills and set a new career-high with nine blocks as Utah State advanced to the second round of the NCAA Volleyball Tournament with a dramatic five-game win over No. 19 Brigham Young University by scores of 30-26, 29-31, 30-23, 27-30, 16-14.
Utah State improved to 2-0 all-time in the first-round of the NCAA Tournament and 2-1 all-time as the Aggies defeated No. 25 Missouri in five games in the first round of last year's tournament before losing to No. 12 BYU in three games in the second round.
With the win, Utah State improved to 20-10 on the season and recorded back-to-back 20-win seasons for the first time in 19 years. USU won both matches against BYU during the season, marking the first time since the 1979 and 1980 seasons that the Aggies won consecutive matches against the Cougars.
The loss for Brigham Young in the first round of the NCAA Tournament was the first since the 1991 season, a span of 10 matches.
"As I told these kids in the locker room, we beat a pretty good team and that is what makes it special," said first-year head coach Burt Fuller. "We were a little bit undersized, but we played hard and was very consistent throughout the match. It was important for us to pass well and get sideouts and we did that."
With the match tied at two games apiece, Utah State and BYU exchange points and neither team had more than a one-point lead. With the score tied 14-14, senior setter Chelsi Neves put the Aggies up for good with a dump shot off the pass of Heather Olmstead. Sophomore middle blocker Erin Cartwright then finished the match with a solo block to give USU the win.
Cartwright finished with 11 kills, 14 digs and seven blocks for Utah State, while Olmstead added a team-high 17 digs. Senior Nina Puikkonen paced BYU with 22 kills, 16 digs and seven blocks.
Utah State hit .181 in the match as compared to .182 for Brigham Young. USU recorded 16 team blocks on the evening while BYU had 15.
Utah State will face the winner of the Utah-Texas Tech match on Fri., Nov. 30 at 7 p.m. at Crimson Court on the campus of the University of Utah.