BYU battles San Diego for WCC lead, then faces Loyola

Junior outside hitte Jessica Jardine spikes the ball in a recent match at the Smith Fieldhouse.
Junior outside hitter Jessica Jardine spikes the ball in a recent match at the Smith Fieldhouse.

The No. 17 BYU women’s volleyball team will take on No. 18 San Diego for the West Coast Conference lead Wednesday night and then play Loyola Marymount Saturday.

BYU and San Diego are currently tied for first place in the WCC and the Cougars are looking for a good match.

BYU just came home from two wins on the road last week against Gonzaga and Portland. The wins moved the Cougars 9-2 in the conference and 21-2 overall. San Diego lost to Santa Clara Saturday also putting them 9-2 in the conference, but 17-4 overall.

Both BYU and San Diego faced losses against Saint Mary’s and Santa Clara. BYU lost to Saint Mary’s on the road 3-1, but bounced back to beat them at home in a 3-0 sweep. BYU also lost to Santa Clara on the road 3-2. San Diego lost to Saint Mary’s on the road 3-2 and to Santa Clara at home 3-2.

Freshman libero Ciara Parker said the Cougars are looking forward to the match against the Toreros and are hoping to play their best.

“We’re really excited to play San Diego,” Parker said. “They’re a great team and we know they’ll give us a good match, so we’re really trying to get ready. We want to play our best, and we know if we can do that it’s going to be a lot of fun.”

The Cougars have been working hard in the gym to prepare for the match. BYU Head Coach Shawn Olmstead said the team has been watching videos of San Diego to get a feel of how the team plays.

“We haven’t played San Diego yet so this is essentially a brand new team,” Olmstead said. “So we need to familiarize ourselves with what they’re going to do.”

Junior middle blocker Kathryn LeCheminant said she is fired up about the match and ready to play.

“Who wouldn’t be excited to play San Diego at home?” LeCheminant said. “We’re tied for first in the conference and personally I’m pumped up. As a team we’re feeling good about it. It’s going to be a good game.”

The match against the Toreros will take place at 8 p.m. in the Smith Fieldhouse Wednesday following a trick-or-treat activity in the annex of the Fieldhouse. The match will be broadcast on ESPNU and live stats will be available on the Cougar’s athletics website.

The Cougars then quickly turn their sights on their Saturday match against Loyola Marymount. The Cougars last played Loyola on the road in early October and won 3-2. Loyola stands 5-6 in the WCC and 14-10 overall.

Olmstead said although both San Diego and Loyola are at the front of the conference, these matches are just as important as any other match.

“We don’t want to change things or overreact to what it actually is, which is another match, another opponent and another chance for us to just get better,” Olmstead said.

The Cougars and Lions face off Saturday at 1 p.m. in the Smith Fieldhouse. The match will be broadcast on BYUtv, and live stats will be available on the Cougars’ athletics page.

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