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Hangin' With The Cougars

The 2008 BYU Women's Volleyball Team (Photo by Jaren Wilkey/BYU Photo)

Nov. 18 - Melissa Lake

After the weekend trip to the west coast and a victory sweep over the San Diego State Aztecs, the BYU Cougars were back in Provo for another week of hard work both on and off the court. Sure, we missed the beautiful weather and the sunny beaches of California (who wouldn’t!?), but we were amped to get back in the gym and work hard for our match again Utah. Practice was filled with energy and excitement as the big match against our rivals, the Utes, was nearing. Morale was high and the competitive spirit was roaring in us all. Our match against University of Utah on Friday night was a tough one – with both teams battling it out to the end. There were moments of greatness where we looked like the Cougars we all love; but, there were also some moments where we let the snarl of the crowd seep into our minds, and it was during those times when we let the match slip away. With our last two games of the season coming up next week, we’re excited to get back in the gym, have a little fun, and play some Cougar Volleyball!

Oct. 14 - Kayla Walker

It was great to be home in the Fieldhouse this last week. We had a great week of practice heading into our games on Thursday against San Diego State and Saturday against UNLV. Unfortunately, we hit a few pebbles in the road as we fell to both of these teams. From these losses we have learned a great deal as a team, and we are excited to play Utah on Friday. We have not yet reached what we can be, and I think we are all pretty excited that we can and will play better. We are cleaning some things up in practice and will be ready to take on the Utes in our Duel game.

Sept. 23 - Malia Marquardt

Hey everyone! So this weekend has been a blast! Unfortunately, or maybe fortunately, we only had two days of school this week because we flew out on Wednesday! So while we were waiting to check in at the airport, Chelsea decided to take a rest and sit on her bag. Bad idea! It slipped from underneath her and she fell straight on her behind! The flight was short and sweet! (Especially compared to last week.) On Thursday we woke up and had breakfast in the hotel. Breakfast was awesome! We had the cutest chef that made the BEST omelettes for us! Then we jumped in the cars and headed to Wyoming. Before our game we had some time to kill, and the coaches had a surprise for us. They took us to Wal-Mart and split us into four teams. We were each given a shopping list and had to race through the store to find the items. The first team back won. The next task was to exchange carts and return the items. The first team back with an empty cart won. I’m proud to announce that my group took first on the second round! That night we swept Wyoming in three. Everyone contributed to the win, and it was awesome to get one step closer to our goal. After our game we had a quick stop at Arby’s and got back on the road to Fort Collins. On Friday, us freshman had study hall for about three hours. We read, wrote some papers and got in some good study time! We then had lunch and practice at CSU. They have a huge gym, and we all got pumped up to play. Ron (Chamberlain – BYU Sports Psychologist) came with us on our trip this week, and he took us through a positive thinking process. We all felt relaxed and ready to play. After dinner we headed back to the hotel and started decorating Chelsea’s room for a surprise birthday party for Giuseppe, our team stats man. We had party horns, poppers, pin the tail on the donkey, cookie cake, ice cream, banners and balloons. Everyone hid in the room while Chelsea called Giuseppe and asked him to come over and help her fix her computer. He came over to help, and we all jumped out and nearly scared him to death! He was so embarrassed! On his cake we gave him trick candles! He kept trying to blow them out before he finally gave up and announced that is was impossible! That night was so much fun, and it was great to celebrate his birthday as a team! Happy birthday Giuseppe! We love you! Saturday morning we had breakfast and then a serve/pass practice at CSU. We then had an awesome lunch at Panera bread. It was so yummy and satisfying! It reminded me of home. We played CSU at seven that night. I would rather not drag on about that so check out Jen’s story. The best part was that a lot of our families were able to drive out there and see us. We appreciate the support and love from everyone! This coming Saturday is finally a home game so I hope to see everyone there!

Sept. 16 - Ashton Hansen Hosford

So we were on the road again this week in the land where you can find famous cheese curds aka Wisconsin. It took a while to get out there, but we all survived the two flights and wound up in Madison around 10:30 p.m. and starving. We stopped by the hotel briefly where Chelsea got a list of local restaurants, and we were off. We drove around only to find that most of the decent-looking food places were closed already; we all kept following Goodie’s van, and before we knew it we were parked in front of a very small, barely lit, abandoned-looking, authentic Mexican restaurant. I think we all had the thought, “Seriously?” cross our minds maybe once or twice, but our hunger pangs drowned them out. We all enjoyed our midnight burritos while they lasted, but as an afterthought wished we would have eaten less!

We had one match on Friday against Boise State. They had not won a game yet, but they gave us a good match. We won in four. One thing we quickly discovered about Wisconsin was that although our locker room seemed to be below freezing, the hot and humid gym got us all working up a sweat before we even started warm-ups. I’ve always sported a sweatband as my trademark since high school and sometimes people question me for wearing it, but I think that this weekend proved the great value of my trademark to me. I think when we go to humid places like that our team should just make it part of the uniform! Just a little suggestion from a veteran sweatband wearer.

The next morning we woke up really early and enjoyed a great breakfast at the hotel and headed to the gym to play a match against Central Michigan. We dominated in three. We got to stay and scout out Wisconsin for a while and then headed off to our routine lunch place for the trip, Jimmy John’s. We went back to the hotel to rest and get psyched up again for our big match against the #14-ranked Badgers.

We started the match out losing the first game by two points. We were so close. The next game was ours. We also took the third game. In the fourth game we had an eight-point lead at 10-2!!!! It was awesome. I feel like we became a little complacent, and a few service errors, passing and hitting errors later we were tied! We couldn’t believe it. They had the momentum and ended up winning that set. We were all absolutely shocked that we were going into a game five. We were the ones playing catch up this game, and we actually had them worried to the point of a couple of time-outs. We ended up not on top, and our team took the loss pretty hard. Not much had to be said in the locker room. We all knew that we should have had that game. It was a bummer, but I feel like we learned some valuable lessons about never letting up and fighting until the end; the game isn’t over until it’s over! Volleyball is such a game of momentum. It is so mental and emotional. It’s all about limiting our mistakes and yet being relentless. I am so confident that if we get another chance to face them at the NCAA’s that we will defeat them for sure.

Sunday morning we met down in the lobby at 4:55 a.m. and left at 5 a.m. for the airport. We had a four-hour layover in Cincinnati. When it finally came time to board we all got on the plane to find that it was even hotter than the gym we played in, unbelievable I know! We sat there in the thick heat for probably 45 minutes until they got the engine going and we could have some air! I think this was our little reminder not to take air conditioning for granted. It worked. We sat there for another hour and a half because the winds were so bad that the big jet was shaking and swaying back and forth. I actually fell asleep and woke up thinking we were experiencing turbulence only to find that we still had not even left.

We finally got permission to leave and got to experience probably the scariest take-off I have ever been in. Once that scare had passed we were so glad to be on our way. We slept, talked, read, the usual, for our three-hour flight home. Some of the girls helped Giuseppe with his English homework. He asked what the word “a-c-h-e-s” meant. One of the girls thought it had to be a spelling error in his book, “They must have meant ‘ashes,’” she explained, “because I’ve never heard of the word aches.” (She pronounced the word just like ashes but with a “ch” sound.). The initial effort and thought that it took quite a few of us to realize what the word was that he was asking about was quite comical once the word was read out loud in the context of the sentence about the “muscle aches;” we all had a good laugh. Maybe we all need an English refresher course. And yes we did win the BYU academic award earlier this year.

Well, we got home at long last with two wins and a loss. We learned a lot. We can’t wait to get on the road again Wednesday morning, cough, cough. Maybe I won’t even unpack my bags. Happy trails!

Sept. 9 - Christina Measom

This week there were many things happening with our team. The first and very possibly most exciting thing that happened was our new addition to our team/family, Giuseppe. Giuseppe, or “Juicy” as we call him, came to work with us all the way from Italy. English is not his first language, but he speaks it very well. He is our new statistician, so he takes all our stats in practice, breaks down our film, breaks down film of the other team and helps us to prepare for matches so we know what to expect. Giuseppe is awesome! We are SO glad to have him with us, and in the last week, we are already amazed by the depth of his abilities. He notices and tells us things about the other team that us mere normal humans could never dream of noticing. All in all, he is super awesome and we love having him work with us!

Another eventful thing that happened was our first road trip. Last weekend the team traveled to College Station, Texas, to play in Texas A&M’s tournament. We played against Siena College on Friday night, American University Saturday morning and Texas A&M Saturday night. We beat both American and Siena but unfortunately lost to Texas A&M. Although never are we okay with a loss, on the positive side, playing more matches together, we learned more about each other and about ourselves and what we need to get better at to accomplish our goals for our season. And, next time we meet the Texas A&M Aggies, they had better be prepared, because we are not going to let next time end like this one did. :)

One of the interesting things about Texas A&M was their fans and “fan-leaders”. I call them “fan-leaders” instead of cheerleaders because the word cheerleaders just doesn’t fit these five boys. These five young men all wore overalls with words put on them such as their name and things about the school, etc. that none of us would understand being from a different school. Anyway, these “fan-leaders” as I will call them, spread out and stood in front of the crowd and basically directed the crowd in what to say and when to say it. They had the crowd into every point and always on the same page of what would be cheered and when. It was an awesome thing to experience such a well-organized crowd, and quite funny to watch these overalled “fan-leaders.”

This first road trip was good overall. It ran very smoothly, we learned a lot, had fun getting even closer to our teammates and coaches, and as always, enjoyed another chance to compete in the sport we love.

Sept. 2 - Chelsea Goodsell

Let the games begin! After all of our hard work during our double-day practices and weight lifting we finally put our talents to use in our first tournament of the season at the BYU Molten Classic. We started the tournament with a practice Friday morning then we had a delicious lunch together as a team at Brick Oven; Thanks Coaches! We prepared ourselves for the match that night against the Utah State Aggies. Every Cougar was anxious and excited to get on the court and play their best. The match began, and there was no way that we would let another team compete with us as the score of the first set came to 25-16 with our first set win of the season! We handled the next two sets with the same intensity as the first with scores of 25-23 and 25-13. We had such a great turnout that night and our fans were fantastic. We love you guys! We were fired up on our first win of the season and happy to defend the Fieldhouse with a win against Utah State.

The next day the Cougars had two more matches with a full day ahead of us. The first match of the day was against Tulane at noon. When we lost the first game 21-25 there was no way we would give another set up. Instead the Cougs came out for the next three sets and played with passion. We finished the match in four sets, winning the last three that came tight but never out of our control 26-24, 27-25 and 25-21.

That night was the final match of the tournament against Missouri, who was also 2-0 in the tournament. It was a battle, but we came out to play and defend our Fieldhouse. We had the momentum in the third game when Morgan Lloyd took the Cougars on a serving streak and brought us to 20-6. The final score of the third game was 25-10. Even though the match against Missouri went to five games, BYU still came out on top. We fought until the end and finished the tournament undefeated with three wins under our belt.

Everyone played amazing this weekend. Even with a mix of new and old players, the team chemistry that was on the court was unstoppable. We have a special bond as a team that is rare to find. Malia Marquardt was named All Tournament and Bryn Porter was named the Molten Classic MVP. It was a great weekend and so much fun to be on the court in the Smith Fieldhouse playing for BYU. Now we are looking forward to next weekend when we head out to Texas A&M for another tournament and carry on our undefeated streak. It was a fantastic weekend for everyone - the girls, the coaches and our fans! Go Cougars!

Aug. 25 - Nicole Warner

The Cougars have successfully made it through their second week of practice and two-a-days. After a nice weekend break, we’ll hit the gym once again to get ready for our first match against Utah State coming up on August 29.

Thursday after practice we left for our undisclosed team retreat. Nobody except the coaches really knew where we were headed until the day of departure. First we made our way to Guru’s, located in Provo, for some amazing food. I would personally recommend the Sweet Potato Fries and the Cilantro-Lime Quesadilla to everyone! After our hunger was satisfied we hopped back in the vans to head up Provo Canyon on a beautiful drive to Midway, Utah, home of the Zermatt Resort. In more ways than one Zermatt is a very unique and fun place to stay; swimming pool, sand volleyball, tennis, and even it’s very own Merry-Go-Round! Zermatt is centered on a Swiss theme, with murals/painting of the Swiss culture. As I learned later, the whole town is this way, including the building style and hospitality, which is excellent!

Upon arrival we all quickly changed into our swimsuits and made a quick stop near the front check-in for some delicious Gelato. After that, we headed to Homestead Crater, a short walk from the beautiful villas we stayed in. This crater encloses a swimming hole in the center of it that is naturally warm. It is also around fifty or so feet deep that allows people to dive to the bottom, which was sort of scary to us at first because we thought someone would come up and pull a prank on us by pulling us down by our feet. Needless to say this didn’t happen. The water had a natural current that would push us to the sides of the crater, slowly. At first it was hard to figure out why we were all moving. The rest of the night was relaxing and Olympics after a hot shower back at the villas.

The next morning, after eating a healthy, hearty breakfast provided by Coach Shawn and Brooke and making lunches for later we headed to the Neuchatel conference room to hear from a guest speaker, Dr. Taylor Hartman, the creator of The Color Code personality test and author of “The People Code.” This was probably the best part about the whole retreat for a lot of us. For me it was very interesting and informative. Previously we had all taken Dr. Hartman’s test which told us which color out of four that described our personalities the most; Red, Blue, White, or Yellow. Dr. Hartman described personality as some innate style of attitudes and behaviors that comes with you at birth and is based on primary motive. I was determined to be a Red, which accurately describes me in the majority of aspects, yet at the same time I also had a secondary Blue part. Each of these four colors is said to have a motive and natural talents; Red=Power with leadership and vision as talents, Blue=Intimacy with quality and service as talents, White=Peace with clarity and voice of reason as talents, and Yellow=Fun with enthusiasm and optimism as talents. Naturally, there are many yellows on our team. I think this was most fascinating to all of us because we were able to see others’ characteristics and how those with different colors react to situations in life and with other people, especially how we act and react as a team, even though we aren’t the same colors. To wrap up the meeting we were able to discus our theme for the year which is ONE HEARTBEAT with Alma 37:6 as our scripture, focusing on the excerpt which reads, “by small and simple things are great things brought to pass; and. . . in many instances doth confound the wise.”

Next on the agenda was practice, which was held at the local Wasatch High School. Before getting down to business we put on a small hitting clinic for the varsity team. After hard work and sweat at practice, we were grateful for our showers back at the resort and a chance to get dressed up for dinner which was a delicious seafood buffet! There was lots of shrimp and crab to go around, and the chocolate-covered strawberries disappeared very quickly. My favorite dish of the night was the Cajun Shrimp with pineapple. Once our bellies were full we had a chance to learn the Cougar Fight Song—and spice it up with some cool dance moves. I think the ones that shined the most at this were the coaches who put on quite a show! Props to Shay and Shawn!

The next morning practice was cancelled and in its place was an optional yoga session at Zermatt. Shay, Chelsea, Gaye, Brooke, Kayla, Ashton, Melissa, Markie, Carpe, Marisa, and I all joined in the fun, relaxing hour of yoga. After almost falling asleep we decided to break camp early to get back home to Provo. A couple players wanted to see their husbands, and a few wanted to swim back at their own apartment pools, and the three of us freshmen had to move into our new dorms where we are staying for the semester. The team retreat was a much-needed two-night getaway, but I think all of us liked it when we packed up what few things we brought and made the scenic drive back to Cougar town!

Aug. 20 - Marisa Vandersteen Boaz

This week we officially kicked off the 2008 Cougar Volleyball Season! We have been practicing twice each day, anywhere from 9-11 to 1-4 or 2-5. Wow, it was so great to be back in the gym working hard with the team. We have had lots of fun getting to know all the newcomers, and they have gotten to know what BYU volleyball is all about. Just this week I feel we have come a lot closer as a team; there really is a special feeling on the team this year.

Practices have consisted of a lot of serving and passing, which are by far the two most important skills in volleyball. Then in the afternoon we always scrimmage against each other, which always proves to be an exciting matchup. During our lunch break, we ice our sore bodies by wrapping ice directly on ourselves or by sitting in the cold pool (like a hot tub, but filled with ice-cold water)....brr! We then all go have a fabulous lunch at the beautiful new Cannon Center by Helaman Halls. There is always a great variety of entrees, fruits, vegetables, etc... It fills us up and refuels us for the afternoon practice. Friday we had a great surprise after practice and lifting. Coach Shay told us to go to the film room where there would be a surprise waiting for us...lo and behold it was dinner for us from California Pizza Kitchen! We were all very grateful.

Saturday we practiced in the morning and then coached a volleyball clinic for the church volleyball sports program. There were all ages from young kids to older adults. We had a great time getting to know the people in our community and teaching them what we love. It has truly been a great week!

Aug. 12 - Casey Speredon

The journey to a National Championship begins with a single practice.

This year the Cougar women’s volleyball team has gotten to know many new faces with three transfers, three freshmen, one walk-on and a new coaching staff.

Friday was a day full of meetings, pictures and getting to know each other. Meetings were very long but definitely necessary. It was fun getting to know our new teammates and the people who work diligently everyday to make us look good.

Saturday began with a long three-hour meeting which explained the logistics and goals of our 2008 team. We thought of many different goals and put them on paper so that we will be able to refer to them during the season. The last thing that we discussed was something that would help us grow stronger; a sacrifice for the entire season. The players and staff each chose something to give up in order to show a commitment to the team and them as an individual. My personal sacrifice will be ice cream because I love it so much.

Sunday, we traveled to Salt Lake City to speak in Coach Judkins’ (BYU Women’s Basketball Coach) ward. He is having many of the BYU sports teams speak in his ward this summer. We had Bryn, Rachel, Kayla, Marisa and Coach Shay as speakers while the rest of us delighted the ward with a musical number, “O My Father”, accompanied by Assistant Coach Chelsea Goodman. After church, we had lunch at Coach Shay’s house in Sandy. We then went home to get some sleep for our first practice of the 2008 season. Everyone was very excited to get back in the Smith Fieldhouse!

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