It all comes to an end this week for the BYU women’s volleyball team as the team finishes regular season play with two home matches.
The Cougars will finish up their first season in the West Coast Conference with matches on Thursday at 7 p.m. and Saturday at 1 p.m. BYU first faces Gonzaga (7-19, 1-14), who is currently in last place in the WCC, and then Portland (8-20, 2-13).
“We are not even paying attention to the records of both Gonzaga and Portland. They are both very good teams,” senior outside hitter Christie Carpenter said. “The last time we played them was on the road and both games were battles. They have some great players and are coached really well. Our mindset is if we can just focus on our side of the court, keep the ball on them and minimize our errors, then we’ll be successful.”
The Cougars are coming off a hard loss to Saint Mary’s last week when they were swept for just the fourth time this season.
“We have to shake this one off,” BYU coach Shawn Olmstead said following the match. “We can learn from it, but we are not going to dwell on it. We have two more matches this … week we need to focus on.”
BYU defeated Gonzaga and Portland by similar 3-1 margins a month ago during its first meetings with both teams, and the Cougars plan to finish off their regular season with two big wins at home against the teams. The Cougars have had struggles in the third set recently and have not been able to sweep an opponent since Oct. 29.
“We must come out focused after the mid-match break and not relax,” said freshman defensive specialist Tia Withers. “The next point is the most important one.”
The last time the Cougars played the Bulldogs, BYU had four service errors and 12 total errors. Against the Pilots, the Cougars had eight service errors and 16 total errors. Serving and passing continues to be the focus of BYU practices.
“Serve and serve receive are the two most important skills in the game of volleyball,” Carpenter said, “and the last couple of games our serve receive passing hasn’t been what we need it to be.”
The home matches this week will be the last for seniors Carpenter, Camilla Phillips and Casey Thurston.