The BYU men’s volleyball team looks to continue its regular season dominance in tournament play after earning a historic 23-3 record and outright conference championship.
“(Winning the regular season championship) is still far from anything,” BYU head coach Shawn Olmstead said. “We need to stay the course and keep getting better.”
The strong regular season performance has the Cougars in position to meet the team’s ultimate goal of winning the national championship.
“These guys know what’s coming, they know what’s ahead of them,” Olmstead said. “It’s a different feel in the locker room (after winning the conference outright). It’s not throwing water around, banners going down, with party poppers. We know what’s coming up, and there’s a big time opportunity in the conference tournament.”
If the Cougars follow patterns of years past they will end the season with a bang. Their regular season winning percentage is the highest since BYU’s historic 1999 national championship team. This includes both the 2001 and 2004 championship teams Olmstead played for.
This success followed a 17-10 record last year before Olmstead took over as head coach. Senior Robbie Sutton says the way the team approaches goals is different than in past years.
“(This year there is) more day-to-day focus,” Sutton said. “Every day we try to get better, so we aren’t looking at the national championship every game. That is our end goal, but in past years that’s all we talked about. This year it’s just day in, day out, get better.”
The Cougars will host the MPSF conference tournament at the Smith Fieldhouse after finishing the regular season ranked first in the nation. BYU will take on No. 8 seed UC Irvine Saturday night at 7:00 p.m. to start off the post season.
“The next two tournaments are the important ones,” Sutton said. “We’ve been here, we’ve done this and we’re really itching to finish the whole thing out this year.”