Cameron Muh | Posted: 29 Jun 2023 | Updated: 19 Jul 2023

BYU Women's Volleyball in the WCC: A Winning Tradition

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Celebrating 12 seasons in the West Coast Conference: a winning tradition
BYU women's volleyball — 2012 WCC champions BYU women's volleyball — 2014 WCC champions BYU women's volleyball — 2015 WCC champions BYU women's volleyball — 2016 WCC champions BYU women's volleyball — 2017 WCC champions BYU women's volleyball — 2018 WCC champions BYU women's volleyball 2020-21 WCC champions BYU women's volleyball — 2021 WCC champions

PROVO, Utah — BYU women’s volleyball enjoyed 12 successful seasons in the West Coast Conference from 2011-2022, earning 11-straight NCAA Tournament appearances and eight WCC titles over that span.


The Cougars also made nine Sweet 16 runs and two trips to the Final Four, including one National Championship match appearance while landing WCC championships in 2012, five-consecutive seasons from 2014-2018, and two-straight in 2020-21 and 2021.

Posting a 316-54 (.854) overall record in the last 12 years, BYU went 182-25 (.879) in conference play, with 28 different student-athletes earning 61 citations to All-WCC teams. During that time frame, the Cougars also had 19 (41 citations) named to AVCA All-Region teams and 16 (60 citations) that earned All-American honors.

BYU began its time in the WCC in 2011, going 21-9 overall (10-6 WCC), finishing third in the league and with one All-American: Jennifer Hamson.

The Cougars won their first of eight WCC championships, going 28-4 and 13-3 in conference play. It marked BYU’s first league title since 2005 and first NCAA Tournament trip since 2007. The Cougars advanced to the Sweet 16, with Hamson being named to the Omaha Regional All-Tournament Team. Hamson, along with Alexa Gray, Heather Hanneman and Nicole Warner were all named All-Americans. BYU also received four WCC honors in 2012. Hamson was named WCC Player of the Year, head coach Shawn Olmstead was awarded Coach of the Year and Warner was named Defensive Player of the Year, while Gray received Freshman of the Year honors.

Making a second Sweet 16 run in as many seasons, the Cougars finished second in conference with a 24-7 (15-3 WCC) record. Gray was honored as an All-American and named to the Los Angeles Regional All-Tournament Team, while Whitney Young Howard was awarded WCC Freshman of the Year.

BYU garnered a number of awards during the historic season in which it reached the NCAA Final for the first and only time in program history. Going 30-5 (16-2 WCC) and winning their second WCC championship, the Cougars made the first of two Final Four appearances of their conference tenure. Shawn Olmstead was named both the AVCA National and WCC Coach of the Year, with Gray awarded WCC Player of the Year and Young Howard Defensive Player of the Year. Gray, Young Howard, Hamson and Amy Boswell were each named All-Americans, with Boswell earning the NCAA Elite 89 award. Boswell, Gray and Hamson were named to the Seattle Regional All-Tournament Team, while Gray and Hamson earned Final Four All-Tournament Team honors.

Winning its second-straight and third WCC title overall, BYU went 28-4 (16-2 WCC) en route to another Sweet 16 appearance, with Gray named to the Lexington Regional All-Tournament Team. Gray and Boswell were both named All-Americans, and received conference honors as Gray was named WCC Player of the Year and Boswell Defensive Player of the Year, while Heather Olmstead was honored as WCC Coach of the Year in year one at the helm.

The Cougars again reached the Sweet 16 in 2016 after a 29-4 (16-2 WCC) season where they earned a third-consecutive (fourth overall) WCC title. Amy Boswell was honored as the CoSIDA Academic All-American of the Year as well as an All-American with WCC Freshman of the Year McKenna Miller. Mary Lake was named to the Austin Regional All-Tournament Team.

BYU won its fourth-straight (fifth overall) WCC title with a 30-3 (17-1 WCC) record and trip to the Sweet 16 in 2017. Lake, Miller, Roni Jones-Perry and Cosy Burnett were each named All-Americans, while Lake was awarded WCC Defensive Player of the Year and Kennedy Eschenberg was honored as the conference’s Freshman of the Year.

The Cougars returned to the Final Four in 2018, picking up AVCA National Coach and Freshman of the Year awards in Heather Olmstead and Heather Gneiting. BYU went 31-2 (17-1) as it took home a fifth-consecutive (sixth overall) WCC title. Jones-Perry, Lake, Miller, Eschenberg, Gneiting and Lyndie Haddock-Eppich all earned All-American honors, while Jones-Perry, Lake, Gneiting and Haddock-Eppich were named to the Provo Regional All-Tournament Team. Gathering four WCC awards, Heather Olmstead was honored as the Coach of the Year, Roni Jones-Perry was named Player of the Year, Lake received the Defensive Player of the Year award and Gneiting was crowned Freshman of the Year.

Posting a 26-5 (16-2 WCC) record and making an NCAA Second Round appearance, BYU had three All-Americans: Lake, Miller and Whitney Bower. Miller was named the WCC Player of the Year, while Lake received the Defensive Player of the Year award.

Returning to the Sweet 16 in a COVID-shortened spring season, the Cougars finished 17-2 (15-1 WCC) after winning their seventh WCC title. Eschenberg, Bower and Taylen Ballard-Nixon were each named All-Americans, while Bower was honored as both the WCC Player and Setter of the Year, with Heather Olmstead awarded the WCC Coach of the Year honor.

BYU picked up back-to-back WCC crowns and Sweet 16 runs with a 30-2 overall record and perfect 18-0 finish in conference play, its first undefeated season in league since 1993. Eschenberg, Bower, Gneiting and Kenzie Koerber were named All-Americans, with Koerber being named both the CoSIDA Academic All-American of the Year and WCC Player of the Year. Bower was awarded the WCC Setter of the Year honor, and Heather Olmstead received the WCC Coach of the Year award.

In their final season as members of the WCC, the Cougars made a trip to the NCAA Second Round, going 22-7 (13-2 WCC) after being ranked as high as No. 7 in the AVCA poll. Gneiting and Erin Livingston were both named All-Americans.

While members of the West Coast Conference, BYU was ranked in the AVCA poll for 164 weeks, including an active streak of 151-straight weeks in the Top 25. The Cougars spent 11 weeks at No. 1 in the poll during the 2018 season, the most since sitting atop the nation for a month at the end of the 1986 season. Since joining the WCC, BYU was ranked no lower than No. 18 in the final AVCA poll, finishing in the top-10 of the final poll in five seasons, and most recently in 2021.

League of the Future
Beginning on the first of July, the Cougars will become members of the Big 12 conference, joining Cincinnati, Houston and UCF as the four new universities in the league. BYU will play each member of its new league at least once, and face six teams twice on back-to-back days.

The Cougars’ conference home slate begins on Sept. 20, and features Houston, Baylor and Kansas, as well as two-game series' against Texas Tech, Iowa State and Cincinnati. On the road in 2023, BYU will visit reigning national champion Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas State, UCF, West Virginia and TCU, with two-game sets scheduled for visits at Texas, K-State and UCF. The Cougars’ non-conference schedule begins on Friday, Aug. 25 in Missoula, Montana, with a matchup against national semifinalist Pitt.

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