Fall sports move to winter as women’s soccer and volleyball prepare for postponed seasons

The BYU women’s soccer and volleyball teams are in the final weeks of their preseason preparation. Typically this preparation happens in August, but because of COVID-19, their seasons were pushed back to Winter Semester. 

Women’s soccer

“It’s really cold and we practice indoors now,” women’s soccer team captain Mikayla Colohan said. The team is used to holding preseason practices during the hot summer months at South Field.

The cold and snow are now presenting issues that the team does not typically worry about until tournament time. Playing in these harsh conditions is uncharted territory for many of the California schools in the West Coast Conference that BYU plays in. 

“We were hoping for a season in the fall,” soccer junior Ashton Johnson said. “It was eye-opening that not everything is going to go as planned. We are just taking things step by step.”

Women’s soccer will open its season with an exhibition match against Weber State on Jan. 30 at the Real Salt Lake indoor practice facility to combat the harsh winter weather.

“I’m excited to see who we can surprise this season,” Colohan said. “I know what the girls on this team are capable of doing.”

Last season the Cougars finished No. 5 in the nation. This year’s team is looking to win the Cougars’ third consecutive WCC Championship and eighth overall since they joined the WCC in 2011.

Team captain Mikayla Colohan passes away from a defender at South Field. Colohan was drafted into the NWSL but plans to finish the year out with the women’s soccer team. (Addie Blacker)

Women’s volleyball

One of the biggest changes for the women’s volleyball team is competing during the same season as men’s volleyball. The No. 16-ranked women’s volleyball team now has to share the Smith Fieldhouse courts and equipment with the No. 1-ranked men’s volleyball team. 

“It’s worked out pretty great,” sophomore setter Whitney Bower said. “We practice back to back and don’t really interfere with one another. Watching them compete gets me fired up.”

The women’s volleyball team has released its updated winter schedule and will begin conference play at Portland on Tuesday, Jan. 26. 

“I’m so excited (for the season), we’ve been cooped up for months. I’m excited to just play and be on the court with the girls,” Bower said.

Both teams will also have to compete against schools from other conferences that competed in the fall when the NCAA tournaments come around in the spring. Some conferences have been competing since the fall and have the advantage of playing competitively together for months.

Whitney Bower hits the ball over the net in the Smith Fieldhouse. Bower is one of the top returning talents for BYU and is excited to finally be playing a season. (Hannah Miner)

“We haven’t given it much thought. We are so focused on ourselves.” Bower said of schools who played in the fall. “We don’t let the other teams get to us. We’re just grateful to play now.”

Both the women’s soccer and volleyball teams are among the top-ranked programs in the nation every year. With multiple conference championships under their belts, these programs are consistently competitive in their respective sports and are expected to continue to rise to the occasion this season in the WCC.

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