Brigham Youngâ€™s George Albert Smith Fieldhouse will open its doors to Colorado Stateâ€™s volleyball team tonight at 7 p.m., as the Rams play the Cougars in the first match of their Utah road trip.
While the Cougars ranked 37th in attendance last season, the intimate nature of their home arena leads to a very hostile environment due to its small size.
â€œMost of the players playing in this match are familiar with playing at BYU,â€ CSU coach Tom Hilbert said. â€œI feel fine about the venues, I think weâ€™ll play well there.â€
Tonightâ€™s game against the Cougars is the Mountain West Conference opener for both teams. Throughout the young season, Hilbert has stressed the fact that all games up to this point have been in preparation for conference play.
â€œI think we get more ready every day,â€ senior outside hitter Jacque Davisson said. â€œThis week in practice, I think weâ€™ve improved a lot as far as being able to side-out, so I think that weâ€™re really ready to go into this weekend.â€
The Rams played three preseason tournaments, winning two and coming up short in the third to host and then sixth-ranked Florida.
â€œWeâ€™ve played some pretty good competition up to this point, worked on different things and tried to expand what weâ€™re good at and now weâ€™ve gotta go into our league and put those things into play,â€ Hilbert said. â€œItâ€™s really a matter of going out and being well prepared.â€
It has been a rough start for BYU (3-9) this season, losing five of the seven matches it played at home. In addition, the Cougars have played against three top ten teams (Illinois, Nebraska and Hawaii), losing every time.
Senior setter Kiana Rogers leads the Cougars with 432 assists on the season, making her fourth in the conference.
Following tonightâ€™s match, CSU will head north up Interstate 15 to Salt Lake City to face the Utah Utes on Sunday at 2 p.m.
Utah freshman Morgan Odale ranks fourth in the MWC with 167 kills. She is one of five Utes to be ranked in the conferenceâ€™s top ten individual statistic accolades.
So far this season, Utah (5-7) has traveled to tournaments at Northwestern, Missouri State and Arizona State, picking up a win on the Sun Devilâ€™s home floor.
The Rams dropped their first match of the year last time out against Long Beach State but are looking forward to the opportunity to play this weekendâ€™s matches.
â€œWe know what we did to lose that game, so we know what we need to do to grow and get better,â€ senior outside hitter Danielle Minch. â€œWe have high expectations of ourselves.â€
Volleyball Beat Reporter Kyle Grabowski can be reached at email@example.com.