PROVO — The BYU women's volleyball team completed one of its most successful seasons in history and is currently making a run in the NCAA tournament. In just his second season as head coach Shawn Olmstead guided the team to the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2007. We asked Olmstead five questions to learn more about the team and its success.
1. What has led to the team's improvement this year?
All the credit goes to the girls and the work they've put in. We returned a lot of key players, and we’ve had a bunch of young players step up big. It’s been fun watching all the hard work they’ve put in come to fruition.
2. Who are the leaders on this team and what is the strongest position?
Our frontline is very good with a lot of good and experienced players. We have Nicole Warner, who is a great middle blocker, and then there's Jen Hamson, who is obviously an incredible athlete and one of the best players in the country. I feel that we're solid everywhere, and you need that to be a successful team.
3. Senior setter Heather Hannemann has provided a lot of consistency. Can you talk about her and the contribution she's made this year?
Her drive, her work ethic and what she's overcome and fought through — she's just a leader. She's making great decisions right now she's a senior leader, and the girls will look to her when things aren't going right, and she'll keep fighting.
4. Several freshmen have stepped up big for you this season. Can you talk about them and their contribution?Comment on this story
Overall, that freshman group has done a tremendous job. I believe they're just as vital and important to this team as Jennifer Hamson and (the others.) Both Alexa (Gray), Kim (Dahl) and Ciara Parker too have (done a great job).
5. What is this team's potential and how far can it go in the NCAA tournament?
We're focusing on just the next opponent, and if we do that I think we'll continue to have a lot of success. There are a lot of great teams in this tournament, but I like how we're playing, and I believe these girls can go far.