The BYU women’s volleyball team heads to Wichita, Kan. Thursday to compete in the Wichita State Invitational, their second tournament of the season.
The Cougars are entering the tournament with a strong start and looking to add another win to their record after winning the Rice Invitational in Houston last weekend with 3-0 sweeps against Arkansas, Air Force and Rice.
“I like what happened in the first tournament,” head coach Shawn Olmstead said. “We want to replicate that and I feel like our opponents this weekend are a little tougher as well.”
The Cougars will open the tournament Friday against Wichita State followed by matches against Colorado State and Tennessee on Saturday.
“My hope going into this tournament is to get some big wins on the road against Tennessee and Colorado State,” freshman setter Samantha Staker said. “It will be a really good challenge, but if we can get some big wins it can prove that we can hang with the big guys.”
Colorado State and Tennessee each moved up one ranking from preseason rankings in the AVCA Coaches’ Poll last week. Colorado State is now currently ranked No. 24 and Tennessee stands at No. 14.
The Cougars are determined not to allow these top-25 rankings affect how they play this weekend.
Junior opposite hitter Jennifer Hamson said it is always the team’s goal to improve and get better when they come up against highly ranked teams.
“We are playing some really tough teams,” Hamson said. “We are taking the challenge and hopefully we can bring it to them.”
The Cougars lost their two matches against Colorado State in both the 2009 and 2010 seasons. Olmstead said the team’s focus this weekend is not on past records but doing its best against any opponent regardless of past history. This is also the first time the Cougars will play Tennessee since 1980, where they lost 1-2.
“If I spent my time worrying about all those things I’d go crazy,” Olmstead said. “We have to be ourselves and we have to be good at what we do. If we can be our best then I’d like us going against any opponent.”
The Cougars play Wichita State Friday at 7 p.m. CDT, and on Saturday will take on Colorado State at noon CDT and Tennessee at 7 p.m. CDT.