I’ve been in these tournaments where I didn’t play at all, so what I would have given to play a few points, here and there. … I hope they cherish it, that they love it and are excited about it. And I think they are. —BYU men's volleyball coach Shawn Olmstead
PROVO — BYU men's volleyball coach Shawn Olmstead knows how it feels to not have a chance to play during an NCAA tournament.
Olmstead was part of some of the Cougars' best years — playing from 2000-2004 and experiencing two national championship titles, although he spent a portion of those championship runs riding the pine. For that reason, he was grateful to have the opportunity of emptying his bench toward the end of BYU's straight set route over Barton on Tuesday.
“I hope it’s great,” Olmstead said of the backups' opportunity to play in an NCAA tournament match. “I’ve been in these tournaments where I didn’t play at all, so what I would have given to play a few points, here and there. I hope they cherish it, that they love it and are excited about it. And I think they are.”
Not only did the bench players get into the match, but they performed well. Sophomore Christian Rupert perhaps made the most of his opportunity — scoring three kills and three block assists to help close out the match. The final point came by virtue of a combined block from Rupert, Kiril Meretev and Will Stanley — all of whom entered the match late.
STYLING THE' STACHE: BYU senior Price Jarman recently purchased a 1972 Volkswagen Bus and currently sports a mustache that goes hand-in-hand with his ride. Junior Leo Durkin realized as much when Jarman picked him up in his car shortly following the Cougars' defeat of Stanford back on April 15.
Durkin took his teammate's mustache as a challenge and started growing his own. While taking to Tuesday's postgame press conference smiling, Durkin noted others in his household may not be smiling about his upper-lip growth, stating, "My wife has been miserable."
As for Jarman, he feels he's found a new look, stating that he's "keeping it forever."
BARTON HAPPY FOR THE EXPERIENCE: Although getting blown out by the Cougars on Tuesday, Barton players and coaches expressed gratitude for the experience of playing in an NCAA tournament after. Most understand that it may take the Conference Carolinas some time to legitimately match up with the top programs elsewhere, although Barton coach Jeff Lennox believes that the equalizing of the gap is underway.
“I’m really proud of our program,” Lennox said. “I think we’ve taken a huge step this year. Our seniors — they’ve been through a lot to get to this point and I think we’ve set a good standard for our conference. We’ve represented them well and I’m just really proud of our guys.”