PROVO -- Coming off its 21st NCAA Tournament appearance in 23 years, the BYU women's volleyball team is currently engaged in early spring workouts.
After its season ended in the second round of the NCAA Tournament at then-No. 2 Hawai`i, Dec. 5, BYU's full-team practices resumed on Feb. 24 and will continue through April 2.
The Cougars will participate in three local spring tournaments, prior to its planned trip to Europe in late April. They will play at Utah Valley State Friday and at Utah (Mar. 25), before hosting the BYU Tournament, April 2.
Currently participating are three seniors; four juniors; one sophomore and seven freshmen.
All seven freshmen spent the 2003 season as redshirts.
"Spring gives us the opportunity to break in some of the freshmen, and get better individually," BYU coach Karen Lamb said. "I don't really look at it as team refining as much as individual refining."
Having graduated four seniors, including three starters and co-captains Carrie Bowers and Uila Crabbe, the spring will help to distinguish leaders on the team.
"There's a different tone each year and the seniors set that tone," Lamb said. "It'll be interesting to see what leadership emerges."
As the Cougars continue to refine their team and further gauge their abilities, Lamb is continually focused on a certain aspect of play.
"It's always the same thing. We have to get better at passing and serving," she said. "We've been effective at scoring points off our serving, and the sideouts have been pretty solid. A lot of that has to do with the quality of serve.
"We're an above-average blocking team. If we serve tough it'll pay right into our blocking."
In the past, the Cougars have traveled to out-of-state spring tournaments, including to Western Michigan in 2003, but the team's upcoming trip to Europe, scheduled for April 26 to May 11, is keeping competition local.
"I would love to travel and play in out-of-state spring tournaments," Lamb said. "I wish we could do it all, but we have to go on our foreign trip this summer and we have to be judicious about how we spend."
BYU Spring Tournament Schedule
March 12th @ Utah Valley State College
March 25th @ University of Utah
April 2nd @ BYU
Spring Participant Roster
Seniors (3) (Lindsey Metcalf, April Varner, Mandi Kiholm)
Juniors (4) (Lexi Brown, Lauren Richards, Melanie Togo, Kim Wilson)
Sophomore (1) (Lindsy Hartsock)
Freshmen (7) (Lindsey Evans, Amy Hulse, Jenna Judkins, Annie Kemp,
Erica Lott, Catherine Parker, Stacie Powell)