The BYU women’s volleyball team will open their regular season this weekend against West Coast Conference foes Pepperdine and Gonzaga.
The Cougars are now ranked No. 16 in the American Volleyball Coaches Association poll and come into the conference with an undefeated preseason record of 12-0.
Freshman Ciara Parker said the team’s performance during the preseason has set has set them up for a strong season.
“We have a great group of girls with us this year and we have really high expectations for one another,” Parker said. “We’re really competitive at practice and that really carried over to all of our preseason matches and tournaments. I’m really proud of my teammates and what we’ve accomplished this preseason.”
The Cougars won all four of their preseason invitationals and had multiple players given MVP tournament titles and all-tournament honors. They won the Rice Invitational, BYU Invitational and George Washington Invitational with 3-0 sweeps and only dropped a total of 4 sets in the Wichita State Invitational.
Head coach Shawn Olmstead said he couldn’t be happier with the team’s performance and wins.
“We had some really valuable wins over some very tough competition,” Olmstead said. “And then to be able to just be steady when you’re playing in different tournaments, that was a tribute to the kids.”
The Cougars will open the conference against No. 14 Pepperdine Thursday at 7 p.m. Senior Nicole Warner said the team realize Pepperdine is going to be a tough match, but her teammates are ready.
“Pepperdine just had two big wins over top-25 teams, so we know that they’re going to be good,” Warner said. “We’re going to have to show up and show them how it is at the Smith Fieldhouse.”
Olmstead said he is excited about the start of conference play and to face Pepperdine.
“It’s nice to open with Pepperdine at home,” Olmstead said. “We’re up for the challenge and it’s going to be a wonderful opportunity for us to improve.”
On Saturday the Cougars will face off against Gonzaga at 1 p.m. When the Cougars played Gonzaga last season they won their away match, but lost at home.
Parker said the goal for Gonzaga is to play as a team and control what they can during the match.
“They’re obviously a going to be a good team,” Parker said. “But as long as we play BYU volleyball and we execute and do our job we should be fine.”
The Cougars will play Pepperdine and Gonzaga this weekend in the Smith Fieldhouse. The matches will be shown on BYUtv and score updates will be available on the Cougars website.