No.3 BYU takes on Stanford in first game of postseason play

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The BYU men’s volleyball team huddles to celebrate after scoring a point. The Cougars will host Stanford on Saturday. (BYU Photo)

The final few weeks of a season are what motivate athletes. Conference title and National Championship dreams finally may come to fruition.

For the BYU men’s volleyball team, it begins now.

No. 3 BYU volleyball begins its run in postseason play on Friday, facing Stanford in the first round of MPSF Tournament in the Smith Fieldhouse at 7 p.m.

“I told the guys nothing is given from here on out,” head coach Shawn Olmstead said. “You’ve got to win in order to keep playing.”

The only way the Cougars will have a guaranteed spot in the NCAA tournament is if they win the MPSF tournament. If not, their fate will be left to the NCAA committee who will give two at large bids.

“It’s always one game at a time,” said junior setter Leo Durkin. “Our goal is always 1-0. You just have to win, it’s all that it comes down to.”

As its season winds down, BYU can look back and see a number of bumps in its journey to postseason. Not the least of which are the injuries the Cougars suffered.

Luckily for the Cougars, they’re healthy now.

“I think we’re in a pretty good spot,” Olmstead said. “At any time in this point in the season you’ll have a handful of guys with some wear and tear stuff with any sports throughout a season to be honest.”

Even with the wear and tear four months of intense competition brings, BYU has responded positively, with only three losses on the season.

“It’s been a bumpier road than most seasons,” Durkin said. “Things can happen and it’s all about how you respond to situations and I think the guys have done a great job.”

Through different situations and obstacles the Cougars have faced, they have still managed to finished No. 3 in regular season play and host the first round of the MPSF tournament.

Olmstead said that accomplishment is no small feat.

“The conference top to bottom is much better than last year,” Olmstead said. “These guys went through the entire conference with one less loss. It’s pretty remarkable. I know the guys want a little more. They feel like there’s more to do. Unbelievable work by them they deserve to be recognized.”

The Cougars have had a successful season, but they aren’t finished. Things start with Stanford on Friday night.

It’s a matchup the Cougars are ready for.

“Stanford is a great defensive team,” Durkin said. “They have a really good read block which makes things tough offensively. They are really solid with their serve they don’t miss often.”