BYU volleyball and USF face off for the first time

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The BYU women’s volleyball team is on the road again this week hoping to secure third place in the West Coast Conference. BYU lost back-to-back matches at home last week and looks to end the losing streak against San Francisco on Oct. 27.

“We had never lost two matches in a row before so it’s a learning experience,” said junior libero Kendalyn Hartsock. “[We know] how important it is to win the next one.”

The Cougars (16-7, 5-4) struggled to remain consistent in their matches last week against Pepperdine and San Diego. In both matches, BYU won the first set and then lost three straight games.

Following the match on Saturday against San Diego, head coach Shawn Olmstead said, “We have to figure out what the problem is. We won the first game in these last two matches and ended up losing, so there are things that we have to work on before Thursday.”

In practice this week, the Cougars have worked on making the necessary changes for the match against San Francisco (13-9, 5-4) in order to clinch the third-place spot in conference.

“We’ve been working hard to improve those little mistakes that keep happening,” Hartsock said. “If we can fix all those little things it will be hard for teams to beat us.”

Defensive struggles caused problems for BYU in its last two matches. In both cases, opponents had more blocks and less errors than the Cougars.

“We are really working on our defense,” junior middle blocker Nicole Warner said. “A lot of teams in the WCC are very good defensively and we need to be better to compete with them. [We need to] compete like crazy and have a do-or-die defensive attitude.”

The BYU offensive game has not been consistent the past few matches either. For the match against the Dons, the Cougars already know what they have to do to pull out a win.

“If we have good ball control and hit it in the court we will win matches,” Hartsock said. “We haven’t played [San Francisco] before so we are excited to learn about them. The most important thing we can do is take care of our side of the net.”

BYU plays another match in California on Oct. 29 against Santa Clara (9-11, 4-5) and returns to the Smith Fieldhouse on Nov. 3.

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