BYU women’s volleyball digs pink

Alexa Gray gets ready to bump the ball against Gonzaga.

The BYU women’s volleyball team will be hosting BYU’s Dig Pink match in support of cancer awareness this Thursday. The Cougars will be wearing pink uniforms and admission for spectators wearing pink shirts is $3.

Senior setter Hannah Hannemann said the pink jerseys are to show support for breast cancer and in honor of Gaye Merrill, a former BYU athletic trainer.

“It’s in honor of breast cancer and those who have been through it,” Hannemann said. “We had a trainer a couple of years ago, Gaye Merrill, who passed away from cancer, so it’s a lot in honor of her.”

The match is also important to the Cougars because they are looking forward to redeeming themselves against Saint Mary’s.

Saint Mary’s is ranked No. 3 in the West Coast Conference and is the only team that has defeated BYU this season. The Cougars fell to the Gales 3-1 when they last played on Sept. 29 in California.

The Cougars are currently undefeated at home and are hoping to add to their record by beating the Gales in a heated rematch when they play in the Smith Fieldhouse.

Freshman libero Ciara Parker said she is looking for a good match against Saint Mary’s and the team is hoping to improve from the last match.

“We want to take it to them this time,” Parker said. “We lost to them last time so it makes us a little hungry, and we just have that fight and that desire. We’re really looking for us to play our game.”

The team understands the match against Saint Mary’s is not going to be easy. While BYU stands ahead of Saint Mary’s at No. 2 in the WCC, Saint Mary’s comes in right behind at No. 3.

Head Coach Shawn Olmstead said Saint Mary’s has a good coach who can get a lot out of his team, so the Cougars will need to be more competitive and put the pressure on.

“They’re good and they’re a very well coached team,” Olmstead said. “After we lost that last match, we weren’t ourselves and we weren’t our game, so we’ve prepared that way. It’s about us. It’s not about them and if we’re at our best and we’re keying in on that, then we’re going to be okay.”

After taking on Saint Mary’s, BYU will travel to California Saturday to take on Santa Clara. BYU has not yet played Santa Clara this season and is looking forward to the match.

Parker said the Cougars are looking forward to good competition against a tough team they haven’t seen yet this season.

“We like playing against competitive teams because they make us better,” Parker said. “They help us focus on our team and so we’re looking forward to playing some really good volleyball.”

In NCAA Division 1 volleyball, BYU holds an overall record of 18-1, tied with No. 1 Penn State. On Monday BYU was ranked No. 16 in the American Volleyball Coaches Association poll for the third week in a row.

In NCAA stats, seniors Nicole Warner and Hannemann received top 20 rankings. Warner was ranked No. 6 for blocks per set with 1.26 and Hannemann was ranked No. 15 for assists per set with 11.48.

As a team, the BYU Cougars are ranked No. 1 for hitting percentage with .319 and No. 13 for blocks per set with 2.92.

The match Thursday against Saint Mary’s will begin at 7 p.m. in the Smith Fieldhouse and will be broadcasted on BYUtv. Live stats will also be available on the Cougars website.

The Cougars will play Santa Clara Saturday at 1 p.m. PDT. Live video streaming and stats will be available on Santa Clara’s Game Central page.

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