Women’s volleyball reacts to No. 1 ranking

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The women’s volleyball team is the No. 1 team in the nation for the first time since 1986. (Shauna Howell/Creative Design)

The BYU women’s volleyball team is on top of the college volleyball world.

The Cougars, who were previously ranked No. 3, moved up to the top spot in the AVCA Coaches Poll which was released Monday, Sept. 10. Previous top two teams Minnesota and Wisconsin both suffered losses in the last week, opening the way for BYU to move up after going 3-0 in the Marquette Invitational tournament and remaining undefeated.

BYU’s No. 1 ranking comes for the first time since the 1986 season, just days before facing rival No. 24 Utah on Thursday, Sept. 13.

“We’re excited, I’m excited for the team and for them to be recognized for their hard work and their success,” BYU Coach Heather Olmstead said of the No. 1 ranking. “I’m really happy for the program and the university to get some attention, and we’re excited to keep going with a couple more matches this week.”

BYU outside hitter Roni Jones-Perry admits she had no idea about the ranking until her husband broke the news to her.

“My husband’s more adamant on following that kind of stuff than I am, so he texted me and was like ‘Congrats that’s so cool!'” Jones-Perry said. “As a team, we took a moment to be like, ‘We worked for that,’ and it’s really cool, but at the same time, we have a lot of things left to accomplish and a lot of things we want to get better at. We still need to play volleyball.”

The Cougars will not have to wait long until they can prove why they deserve the No. 1 spot in the country, as they face No. 24 Utah on Thursday, Sept. 13 at 7 p.m. in the Smith Fieldhouse.

“We’re excited to host Utah and have a top 25 matchup again at our place,” Olmstead said. “We know they’re going to be well prepared and come into the Smith Fieldhouse ready to play. It’s going to be a grind, it’s going to be a tough match and I think both teams are going to play really well.”

BYU middle blocker Kennedy Eschenberg said the team has worked hard, but they still need to maintain their focus as the season goes on.

“How close we are as a team has really made a huge difference,”¬†Eschenberg said. “We just need to keep working hard.”

“We know that we’re still not good enough yet,” Jones-Perry said. “It takes looking at film after practice and finding spots that we can get better at and identifying our strengths and trying to build on those things every single day relentlessly.”

The Cougars host rival No. 24 Utah in the Smith Fieldhouse on Sept. 13, at 7 p.m. Tickets can be bought on the BYU Athletics website.

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