Adjusting to a new conference is not the only thing that has been a change for the BYU women’s volleyball team, but also the aggressive style of play in the WCC.
“The California girls are incredibly scrappy,” senior outside hitter Christie Carpenter said, as the Cougars prepared to face the University of San Diego on Saturday. “They are smaller girls and our team has a lot of height, but we will play teams that have 5-foot-8 girls who can get around our blockers. They are just scrappy, tough girls.”
San Diego is currently ranked 18th in the nation and has been a tough competitor in the WCC. The Toreros are 14-1 (1-1 in WCC play) and have proven to be a California volleyball powerhouse.
“They are a top 20 team and have traditionally been a very strong member of this conference year in and year out,” BYU head coach Shawn Olmstead said. “They are consistently finishing the season in the top 25.”
The Cougars have been in California for a majority of the week and played Loyola Marymount on Thursday in Los Angeles. BYU (12-3) has had to adjust to playing in different circumstances because of the conference change. Along with the new style of play, the team has also had to get used to the change in climate.
“Everything feels a lot different. I’m not sure if the humidity or being at sea level has anything to do with it, but we were used to playing in the cold,” Carpenter said.
The Cougars have spent their last few practices gearing up for the Toreros and believe it will be an exciting but difficult match. There are areas they feel they can improve on, but the coaches and players are doing their part to be fully prepared for this match.
“Our coaches take a lot of pride in how they set up our scouting reports and how they prepare us for each game but really they can’t stress enough how important the players’ side is,” Carpenter said. “We need to keep the ball in, especially against these great teams. They have been playing together for a really long time so we have to make them come out and play. We really need to get our serves in at critical times.”
BYU has been successful in executing a game plan and taking down opponents regardless of whether the match is on the road or at home.
“I have been pleased with the way we have competed on the road and we plan to continue that,” Olmstead said.
The Cougars will play the Toreros on Saturday in Gersten Pavilion. BYU will then return home to play Santa Clara on Oct. 6 in the Smith Fieldhouse.