WCC champions prepare for UVU and NCAA tournament

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The No. 16 BYU women’s volleyball team plays Utah Valley University Tuesday in a non-conference match to close off their season.

Nicole Warner and Jennifer Hamson go up for a block against San Diego

The Cougars finished off the West Coast Conference last weekend after taking on opponents Pepperdine and San Diego. BYU beat Pepperdine 3-1 on Thursday, but fell to San Diego in a five-set match. Despite the loss, BYU claimed a share with San Diego in the West Coast Conference title.

BYU Head Coach Shawn Olmstead said last week’s matches could not have gone any better.

“We accomplished what we set out to do, which was to be West Coast Conference champions,” Olmstead said. “To finish the way we did was unbelievable because it’s tough to go on the road and beat Pepperdine and San Diego. Although we fell to San Diego, beating Pepperdine on the road with what was one the table was remarkable.”

BYU and San Diego both finished off the WCC season with a 13-3 record. In order to determine the bid for the NCAA tournament, the conference looked at the number of sets won between BYU and San Diego. BYU won five sets and San Diego only won four, giving the bid to the Cougars.

Three Cougars also received honors after this weekends matches against Pepperdine and San Diego. Jennifer Hamson was named West Coast Conference Player of the Week for the third time this season. Hamson, Warner and Withers were also named to the Academic All-West Coast Conference team for excelling academically and contributing greatly to their team.

Senior Nicole Warner said now that conference is over the Cougars are looking forward to starting the NCAA tournament.

“I’m proud of my teammates for playing as hard as we did and accomplishing our goals that we set for the season,” Warner said. “It’s great for launching us into the next part of our season which is the NCAA tournament. We want to go as far as we can and keep going.”

Selection for the bid will take place Sunday at 4 p.m. EST and can be followed online at NCAA.com or viewed on ESPNU. In the meantime, the Cougars are looking forward to their match against the Wolverines.

The Cougars and Wolverines last met in 2010 when BYU took down UVU in a 3-0 sweep. Sophomore Tia Withers said despite the fact the Wolverines are not part of the WCC conference, the Cougars are prepared to fight hard for a win.

“UVU is a really good team,” Withers said. “They’ve taken down some really good teams that have won other conferences. It is huge for us to win this game and hopefully it will really solidify a home bid.”

Withers said the match against UVU is important because it could affect where the Cougars play during the NCAA tournament.

“Right now we’re ranked No. 16, and we have an undefeated record at home,” Withers said. “It would be great to play at home in the opening rounds of the NCAA tournament where we might have an advantage with our home crowd. Our goal is to win as handily as we can.”

BYU takes on UVU in the Smith Fieldhouse Tuesday at 7 p.m. Live video streaming and stats will be available on the Cougars website. The match will also be broadcast on BYUtv.

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