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For week ended December 05, 1999 Posted 18 Dec 1999

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Cougars reach Sweet 16

Summarized by Rosemary Pollock

Cougars reach Sweet 16
Deseret News 5Dec99 S3
By Jeff Call: Deseret News sports writer

PROVO, UTAH -- BYU women's volleyball coach, Elaine Michaelis, advanced her team for the fourth consecutive time to the Sweet Sixteen Tournament. This is the eleventh Sweet Sixteen appearance for the Cougars in eighteen years. Defeating Wisconsin on Saturday night, the Cougars moved into the second round of the tournament at the Smith Fieldhouse. "As you can tell, I'm excited," she said. BYU downed the Badgers 6-l5, l5-l0, l5-4, l5-9.

The Cougars received a boost of confidence by beating a tough Big 10 team as they head into the regional semifinals next weekend. "They play in a tough conference," Michaelis said. "To me, (beating Wisconsin) show us we belong where our dreams have been and that we can play with the best. What our players did tonight has to tell them that we can do it and that we can do it anywhere."

Those dreams consist of going to Hawaii for the final four for the second time in school history and winning a first national championship. Beating Wisconsin wasn't easy for BYU. "I thought our passing rotation was better and that we served better," explained Cougar setter Anna-Lena Smith. "We had a little lapse in that first game, but we're glad we put that aside, " Michaelis said. "The best thing we could do was to forget (game one)." "We made a lot of unforced errors in the first game," Smith said. "We knew we were the ones who beat us, not them, so we picked it up."

Wisconsin Coach Pete Waite said, "This is a game of playing together." "We needed to be playing on all cylinders to beat a team like BYU. We played well in the first game but we didn't play well the rest of the match." In games three and four, BYU started strong.

Wisconsin senior Allyson Ross played her last game as a Badger. "It's a huge disappointment. It's hitting me hard," Ross said. "We had a great chance tonight. We were very prepared. We knew their players but we didn't produce." Nina Puikkonen led BYU with 24 kills, seven blocks and a .477 hitting percentage.

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