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Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News
BYU’s Heather Gneiting (2) and BYU’s Lyndie Haddock-Eppich rejoice a level towards Utah in Provo on Thursday, Sept. 13, 2018.
PROVO — Collegiate sports activities do not supply many names larger than Texas, Michigan and Florida, however on the subject of the regional spherical of the NCAA women’s volleyball match, they all are underdogs. The favourite is the No. Four-seeded BYU Cougars, a group that ultimate Saturday punched a price tag to the spherical of 16 for the 7th immediately season.
Although this yr, it is a bit other.
For starters, BYU is internet hosting some of the 4 regional semifinal rounds for the primary time since 1986, again when the match integrated simply 32 groups. Doing as a lot is a large merit for any group, however in all probability in particular so for the Cougars, when making an allowance for the altitude issue, the Smith Fieldhouse house surroundings and the truth they have not misplaced a house match fit since 1994.
Just ask Florida (26-6), an achieved group that complicated transparent to the championship fit ultimate season, but took to the rostrum throughout Thursday’s press convention readily assuming an underdog function because it prepares to take on BYU (29-1) Friday at Four:30 p.m. MST.
“We understand the challenge that’s ahead of us Friday night,” mentioned Florida trainer Mary Wise. “…It will be a huge challenge for us playing a team that talented, that well-coached on their home court, but this group has embraced the underdog mentality.”
” We understand the challenge that’s ahead of us Friday night. ”
Florida trainer Mary Wise on enjoying BYU
Yes, BYU is the made up our minds favourite, having best misplaced its ultimate fit of the common season whilst defeating best groups akin to Stanford and USC. It’s arrived as such during the play of best performers Roni-Jones Perry, Mary Lake and Lyndie Haddock-Eppich, all 3 of whom took to the rostrum on Thursday, a lot as they have got executed after BYU’s earlier two match wins.
While all 3 headliners are worthy of the limelight, each and every of them, in conjunction with BYU trainer Heather Olmstead is fast to credit score those that do not obtain as a lot realize. Players like seniors Danelle Stetler and Sydnie Martindale and Kiani Moea’i, all of whom take on roles very similar to offensive linemen on soccer groups in that they hardly catch realize, but are completely very important to the group’s total success.
“We have a roster full of great team players that are ready to step up at any time,” Olmstead mentioned. “Danelle is one of those players who has been asked to play many different roles this year and has done a great job…really it’s a team effort. Everyone is involved and it takes all 18 of us.”
Olmstead’s 18 avid gamers have shaped a group with few weaknesses that prime groups, such because the Gators, can exploit. Jones-Perry has led a fearsome Cougar offensive assault, however has additionally contributed closely to a protection that has apparently stepped up a degree towards the top of the yr and into the primary two rounds of the NCAA match.
“We’ve spent a lot of time — basically all season, working on our eye-work and our footwork, and our hand-work for blocking,” Olmstead mentioned. “…That’s what it’s for. For these moments in the tournament when you can just rely on your training and go back to what you’ve been taught.”
Leading the defensive rate has been junior libero Mary Lake, who got here on robust as a freshman, proving to be some of the very best within the nation at her place all through her 3 years performed.
As discussed, that is the primary time for BYU internet hosting a regional spherical, one thing the avid gamers relish this past due within the yr.
“Not having to travel and being able to be in our classes and stuff like that has been really helpful at this point of the semester,” Jones-Perry mentioned. “But when the match starts tomorrow, volleyball is just volleyball and having our fanbase here will be awesome, but it will come down to who plays better volleyball.”
“Florida is a great opponent and they’re very well-coached,” Olmstead mentioned. “They have big, tall athletes. They have three offensive options the whole match, as far as we can tell, and I think they’re a good serving team and they pass well. I think it’s going to be a great match.”
Friday’s fit might be streamed reside on ESPN3, in conjunction with the Texas-Michigan fit, which is able to get started at 2 p.m. MST. The winners of each fits advance to play within the spherical of 8 Saturday night time at 6 p.m. MST.