PROVO, Utah – BYU women’s volleyball looks to build on its success from last season as the Cougars prepare for another challenging schedule in 2016.
Last year, BYU finished 28-4 and 16-2 in the West Coast Conference with a No. 11 final national ranking. The Cougars collected their second-consecutive WCC title and advanced to the regional semifinals of the NCAA tournament for the fourth-straight season.
Returning starters for the 2016 season include Amy Boswell, Cosy Burnett, Whitney Young Howard as well as Lacy Haddock and Danelle Parady, who each started matches at the outside hitter position last year.
Breakdown by Position
Returning to BYU’s front line are senior middle blockers Boswell and Howard. Last season Boswell was named an AVCA Third-Team All-American, the WCC Defensive Player of the Year and was added to the All-WCC First Team and AVCA All-Pacific South Region First Team. Howard made the All-WCC Honorable Mention list while picking up Academic All-WCC accolades. Boswell averaged 1.41 blocks per set while hitting at a .365 clip and Howard averaged 1.18.
Sophomores Haddock and Parady took turns starting at one outside hitter position last year and both return along with Veronica Jones-Perry as the veteran pin-hitters. Jones-Perry averaged 2.16 kills per set last season, while Haddock hit at a .240 clip, adding 2.00 digs per set. Parady helped the team with 1.11 kills per set. Additionally, Jones-Perry was added to the All-WCC Freshman Team last year.
Freshman Miller completes the cast of outsides for the 2016 season.
Burnett, who started at opposite last season, returns as the clear starter in 2016. She averaged 2.07 kills per set while hitting at a .225 clip and adding 0.84 blocks per set.
The only other opposite on the roster is redshirt freshman Emily Lewis, who did not play last year.
BYU returns one setter with starting experience from last season in junior Alohi Robins-Hardy. She started six matches last season as well as a handful her freshman year. Robins-Hardy averaged 6.89 assists per set last year as well as 2.04 digs per set.
The Cougars look to replace their primary libero in 2016. Senior Makenna Santiago and junior Jaiden Kaka bring the most experience to the position, while freshmen Mary Lake and Tristyn Moser bring young talent to the court.
Kaka averaged 1.91 digs per set last year while starting in 13 matches as a defensive specialist and Santiago contributed 1.78 digs per set.
BYU launches the 2016 season at home by hosting the BYU Invitational from Aug. 26-27. The Cougars will first face in-state foe Utah Valley, followed by Rice and Cal Poly.
The team then hits the road for the Sports Imports D.C. Koehl Classic. BYU begins with Wyoming, followed by LIU-Brooklyn and host Ohio State from Sept. 2-3. The Buckeyes advanced to the regional semifinals of the 2015 NCAA Tournament.
The Cougars stay on the road for the Idaho State Tournament from Sept. 9-10, facing Boise State, Missouri and Idaho State. Missouri advanced to the second round of the NCAA tournament in 2015.
BYU follows up its three nonconference tournaments with a string of home matches from Sept. 15-17 against Utah, CSUN and UNLV.
During conference play, the Cougars will face nine extremely competitive squads. In addition to BYU, three other league foes made the NCAA tournament in 2015: Santa Clara, San Diego and Loyola Marymount. The Lions advanced to the regional semifinals of last year’s tournament.
Conference play beings at home for the Cougars in 2016, with matches against Santa Clara and San Francisco on Sept. 22 and 24. It ends on the road with three-straight matches: San Francisco (Nov. 17), Santa Clara (Nov. 19) and Loyola Marymount (Nov. 22).
|Aug. 26||Utah Valley||BYUtv||7 p.m. MDT|
|Aug. 27||Rice||BYUtv||12:30 p.m. MDT|
|Aug. 27||Cal Poly||BYUtv||7 p.m. MDT|
|Sept. 15||Utah||BYUtv||7 p.m. MDT|
|Sept. 16||CSUN||BYUtv||7 p.m. MDT|
|Oct. 6||Saint Mary's||BYUtv||7 p.m. MDT|
|Oct. 8||Pacific||BYUtv||1 p.m. MDT|
|Oct. 22||Loyola Marymount||BYUtv||1 p.m. MDT|
|Nov. 10||Gonzaga||BYUtv||7 p.m. MST|