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BYU Women’s Volleyball Preview: Can the Cougars build on incredible 2018 season?

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BYU Women’s Volleyball has become one of the most popular teams on campus, and in 2018 had one of the greatest seasons in program history.

Okay, “one of” may be understating the impressive 2018 for Heather Olmstead’s Cougars. BYU opened the season ranked 8th in the AVCA Coaches Poll, but weren’t there long as they immediately began their season with a HUGE win over then #1 Stanford at the Smith Fieldhouse. The Cougars quickly rose to a #1 ranking in Week 3, and remained there for the next 11 weeks as they tore through their competition. The Cougars were 27-0 before they lost their first regular season match, and swept their opponents in 21 of those matches. The dream season would eventually come to an end in Minneapolis in the Final Four to the hands of eventual winners Stanford, but the season is one Cougar fans won’t forget anytime soon. The season was full of special moments, few much bigger than this play against San Diego that has remained popular despite the season ending 8 months ago.

And with several key players returning, the 2019 Cougars look poised to repeat their dominance. The Cougars were picked #1 in the WCC Preseason Poll, and are ranked 9th in the National AVCA Coaches Poll. The Cougars return key players such as Mary Lake, Heather Gneiting, Kennedy Eschenberg, and Mckenna Ah Sue(formerly Miller), and will build around this foundation.

Mary Lake stayed active during the summer, playing with the United States National Team in the Volleyball Nations League, helping the USA win the league. She also helped the National Team qualify for the Tokyo Olympics. Additionally, Heather Gneiting played with the Junior National Team during the summer and gained valuable experience with the team.

The Cougars open the season on August 30 by hosting the BYU Nike Invitational at the Smith Fieldhouse. The Cougars open against Boise State and Utah Valley in a double header and will then play Marquette on Saturday, August 31st. The Cougars will open conference play on September 26 at Gonzaga. The Cougars will expect big performances from Lake and Gneiting, and will be bolstered by SLCC transfer Callie Whitney.

The Cougars were 17-1 in conference play in 2018 and will look to complete a perfect conference record in 2019. The Cougars were also 17-0 at the Smith Fieldhouse during 2018, and have posted a 92-3 record at home since 2011. The Cougars enjoyed frequent sellout crowds during the season, and can expect the the home court advantage to continue in 2019.

For season or single game tickets, visit the official BYU Tickets site.